Thousands of people work to pursue the solar eclipse of Monday and will leave home. Tour groups are selling out; hotels are complete along the path of totality. Why bother?
This eclipse doesn’t assert discoveries. It & rsquo; t intersect with any significant observatories, such as the ones in California and New Mexico, despite passing over a massive swath of the nation. It’s not a particularly long eclipse. There’s no Concorde aircraft flying as it moves across the Earth, as there was in 1973, keeping up with the shadow of the moon.
Nevertheless this eclipse is worth the hype due to its power to inspire people who take the opportunity to watch. It’ll go all the way across the nation, and it’s the initial eclipse to hit at the lower 48 since 1979. That one only passed through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. For this one, the USA has a front-row seat, as perfect as you might want. Instead of flying into Uzbekistan or Norway to see the eclipse, you can simply drive down the road to Wyoming or Kentucky.
This eclipse will be seen by a lot more Americans than have seen an eclipse. It will be spectacular, and the news media have lost no chance. The amount of enthusiasm is palpable and increasing. There are even shortages of special glasses.
Hundreds of thousands of individuals will witness a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. What effect does it have on those multitudes? Hopefully, people seeing this total solar eclipse will understand the value of scientific forecasts. Better still, it can inspire bright young Americans to pursue careers in mathematics — and, even if we’re lucky, it may also motivate our jaded elected representatives to give scientific research the help it deserves.
Five decades ago eyes were turned to the heavens. Then, as now, the news media offered nonstop coverage of a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. I remember when a man walked on the moon where I was. I bet you do, if you’re of an age. The space race triggered tremendous scientific discoveries, but even more important individuals were exposed by it to science. It prompted kids to dream of being engineers who constructed mathematicians and rockets who calculated trajectories and astronauts who ran experiments. I was one of these: The moon walk fueled my dream become a scientist, to learn about mathematics and, finally.
This panel will last only a few minutes, but those couple of minutes have the capacity. Ordinary people are studying about orbits and the moon’s umbra and the sun’s corona. By adding science stories at the top of the news 18, the news websites are generating increasing excitement. Science is suddenly all of the rage. At least for a couple of days, the course of this eclipse implies that kids will be visiting science in action — they can join in as citizen scientists and contribute to over a dozen crowd-sourced science experiments.