BOULDER, Colo. – We’re only 30 days away from a total solar eclipse, and a NASA briefing in Boulder Friday is shedding more light on what we should expect come August 21.
The eclipse will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S. along a 70-mile-wide swath of the country that will include Colorado, which will experience only a partial eclipse. Colorado won’t be left in the dark though; the state will see 90-95 percent of the obstruction.
While still impressive, scientists at Friday’s briefing said the full eclipse would only be viewable in the "path of totality," which includes our neighbor to the north, Wyoming.
The state will be the closest area to Colorado to see and experience 100 percent of the celestial phenomenon. The city of Casper is expected to draw about 25,000 overnight visitors and an additional 10,000 on the day of the eclipse.
Madhulika Guhathakurta, the lead scientist on the eclipse for NASA, told Denver7 that despite this, residents in Colorado would experience something extraordinary when the moon totally obscures the sun on August 21.
“Everything around you is going to respond to this phenomena,” explained Guhathakurta. “Look for creatures who will be responding to this low-level of light.”
Guhathakurta said the rare sight would be unique for the amount of time Colorado and other parts of the country will be in the dark. The event should last about 2 minutes.
“This eclipse is unique because of the amount of time that it is going to go over, a huge amount of land mass, which is the continental USA,” she said.
The NASA scientist suggested observers seek out a tree the day of the eclipse to see an unusual display of shadows.
“If you’re under any trees with leaves and you look at the bottom, you are going to see multiple crescent shadows,” explained Guhathakurta.
If you miss this year’s total solar eclipse, the next one to cross the United States will be in April 2024, but it will only cross over the eastern portion of the country. Another eclipse in August 2045 will pass directly over Colorado.