Will Trump’s NASA budget cuts delay Oregon’s 2017 Solar Eclipse?

3/29/2017 update: It’s currently scheduled for August 21. Any delay would be an economic disaster for the state. Christian Hill has the latest in the RG here:

By some estimates, a million visitors will be in the state to gaze up at the total solar eclipse and watch in wonderment as the moon’s shadow makes landfall before sweeping across Oregon in 12 minutes at more than 3,000 miles an hour.

The main event will be brief, but it’s likely to live long in the memories of its viewers.

“It’s the most important two minutes people will witness in August probably during their whole lives,” said Jim Todd, director of space science at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.

Public agencies throughout the state are preparing for the influx of visitors who already have booked virtually all of the hotel rooms and campsites along what’s known as the path of totality.

My guess is that, with all the plans and hotel deposits, this eclipse has some unstoppable inertia behind it – but then I thought the same thing about Hillary Clinton.

8/29/2016: Duck physicists lose bidding war to Beavers for lucrative 2017 Solar Eclipse

It’s a bitter night down at the UO Faculty Club after NASA’s announcement that Corvallis – not Eugene – will have a place in the lucrative Path of Totality for the August 21 2017 Solar Eclipse. The official map is below.

NASA is still refusing to respond to my public records request for “all documents showing how the eclipse’s path was determined”, but the physics profs seem pretty sure the fix has been in for years. I’m guessing Corvallis took a page from the UO Foundation’s IAAF championship playbook and promised the NASA bosses free tickets and luxury hotel rooms, subsidized with their cut of the state’s lodging tax.

Yesterday the Eugene Astronomical Society, a special-interest group that sponsors celestial events – but which doesn’t have the gravitas to shift this thing 30 minutes of latitude south – published a revealing op-ed in the RG:

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Quoting:

Oregon is one of the best places climatologically to see this eclipse. Many will come here from all over the world, offering an economic boon to the state and creating an excellent educational opportunity. Watching day turn rapidly into twilight and seeing the black disk of the moon block the sun, allowing us to view the sun’s thin corona as bright stars and planets become visible, will be unforgettable.

Of course, even our astronomical boosters have to admit there’s a downside risk of permanent blindness:

Interstate 5 crosses the track of the eclipse for nearly 70 miles. There will be the usual heavy commercial traffic; some who aren’t aware an eclipse is occurring may be startled by sudden darkness at about 10:20 a.m., some will look while driving, and others will slow down or pull off the road, get out and look. This is a bad combination.

… you must use adequate eye protection: mylar eclipse glasses, No. 14 welding filters, commercial solar filters for optics, or indirect projection — not X-Ray or other film, sunglasses or staring at the sun. Eclipse glasses are cheap and easily available.

Sure they’ll be cheap – until the astronomers corner the market. Interactive map here:

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Say what you will about Senator Ron Wyden, but he does know how to bring in the pork. Oregon will be the only non-Trump state to get a major cut of the 2017 eclipse:

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.28.17 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.26.49 PM

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7 Responses to Will Trump’s NASA budget cuts delay Oregon’s 2017 Solar Eclipse?

  1. You readers are invited to visit NationalEclipse.com for more information on the 2017 eclipse.

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  2. Tycho says:

    Mark my words, this eclipse will cast a dark penumbra over Oregon. And you think the energy tax credits are a shadowy business.

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    • just different says:

      But there’s always something shady going on in Salem that never sees the light of day.

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  3. dog says:

    go here

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-moon-data-provides-more-accurate-2017-eclipse-path

    for best eclipse representation

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    • UO Matters says:

      “Trump appointed NASA scientists predict solar eclipse will cool US, eliminate need for CO2 reductions”

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  4. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    I’m no physicist! But my physics friends tell me that Corvallis just might get sucked into a black hole when that eclipse passes over. Something to do with the nuclear reactor they have up there.

    Be very careful on Aug. 21!

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  5. As the date of the August 21 eclipse draws near, keep this important safety information in mind: You MUST use special eclipse safety glasses to view a partial eclipse and the partial phases of a total eclipse. To do otherwise is risking permanent eye damage and even blindness. The ONLY time it’s safe to look at a TOTAL eclipse without proper eye protection is during the very brief period of totality when the Sun is 100 percent blocked by the Moon. If you’re in a location where the eclipse won’t be total, there is NEVER a time when it’s safe to look with unprotected eyes. NEVER attempt to view an eclipse with an optical device (camera, binoculars, telescope) that doesn’t have a specially designed solar filter that fits snugly on the front end (the Sun side) of the device. Additionally, never attempt to view an eclipse with an optical device while wearing eclipse glasses; the focused light will destroy the glasses and enter and damage your eyes.

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