Thousands of people will leave home and work to chase the solar panel of Monday. Tour teams are selling out. Why bother?
This eclipse doesn’t assert scientific discoveries. Despite passing over a massive swath of the nation, it’t intersect with any major observatories, like the ones in California and New Mexico. It’s not a particularly long eclipse. There’s no Concorde aircraft flying along at speed, as there was in 1973 as it moves across the Earth, keeping up with all the shadow of the moon.
Nevertheless this eclipse is well worth the hype due to its power to inspire people who take the opportunity to watch. It’ll go all of the way and it’s first eclipse to hit at the lower 48 since 1979. That passed through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. For this one, the USA has a seat. Instead of flying to Norway or Uzbekistan to observe the eclipse, you can drive down the street to Kentucky or even Wyoming.
This eclipse will be seen by more Americans than ever have seen an eclipse. It will be spectacular, and the news media have lost no opportunity. The level of enthusiasm is rising every day and palpable. There are shortages of special eyeglasses.
Thousands and thousands of individuals will witness a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. What effect does it have on these multitudes? Hopefully, people seeing this total solar eclipse will comprehend the worth of scientific predictions. Better still, it can inspire bright young Americans to pursue careers in mathematics — and, even if people’re lucky, it may also inspire our jaded elected representatives to offer scientific study that the support it deserves.
Five years ago, American eyes were turned into the skies. Then, as now, the news media offered coverage of a event. I remember when a man walked on the moon where I was. I bet you do, too, if you’re of an age. The space race triggered scientific discoveries, but even more important people were exposed by it to science. It prompted countless kids to dream about being engineers that constructed mathematicians and rockets who calculated astronauts and trajectories who ran experiments. I was one of them: The moon walk fueled my ambition to learn about mathematics and, finally, become a scientist.
This solar eclipse will last just a couple of minutes, but those couple of minutes have the capacity to inspire. Regular men and women are studying about planetary orbits as well as the moon’s umbra and sunlight’s corona. The news websites are generating increasing excitement by adding science stories on peak of the news. Science is suddenly all the rage. At least for a couple of days, the course of this eclipse means that children all around the country will probably be seeing science in action — they could even combine in as citizen scientists and also bring about more than a dozen crowd-sourced science experiments.