Monday, August 14, 2017

Turn out the lights, the party's all over

Locals prepare for total eclipse of the sun

By Rob Carrigan,

On Monday, Aug. 21, everyone across America has a chance to see a total eclipse of the sun for the first time in our lifetime unless you are nearly 100. It has been that long since the last total solar eclipse darkened the United States from coast to coast, and it is not predicted to occur again for another 18 years.

Locally, you may have received quite a few invites.

“We are doing a campus wide eclipse event on Monday, if you were interested ... The maximum coverage occurs around 11:45 so that is when we will all be outside,” says Terry Bramschreiber, Ph.D., 9-12 Assistant Principal, Discovery Canyon Campus.

“We are giving glasses to all students and staff campus wide. PTO will be selling “moon pies” and other topic related treats. We will also be sending out some lessons for those teachers that want to learn and teach more about it. Additionally, all staff has eclipse T shirts,” he said.

“Victor Lowell Thomas Museum Offers Eclipse Safe Sun Glasses. Are you ready to watch the Solar Eclipse on August 21?” asks Ruth Zalewski, for the Victor Improvement Association/Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. Special sunglasses are required to safely view the eclipse, she advised.

“Colorado's Touchstone Energy Cooperative's 2017 Golf Classic is the perfect opportunity to mix business with pleasure. And it also is the day of the eclipse,” said Terri Hayes, executive director for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. “This shotgun start, best ball tournament with an all-inclusive golfer package includes a luncheon, auction and awards ceremony following the tournament. The morning is well-spent networking, enjoying the beautiful Colorado scenery and playing on one of the area's finest exclusive golf courses,” she said. The tournament is at Perry Park Country Club near Larkspur, and the Chamber is also selling glasses.

To celebrate this astronomical event, the Space Foundation Discovery Center, which is typically closed on Mondays, will open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 21 for a Solar Eclipse Party. Special solar viewing telescopes, viewing tubes and boxes will be available for guests to experience the eclipse with friends, family, neighbors and informative Space Foundation staff at the Discovery Center.

Space Foundation Vice President - Education Bryan DeBates said, “This is an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime event for many people. This type of eclipse is extremely rare and can interest and inspire those who don’t typically get interested in astronomy.

The Space Foundation Discovery Center is excited to host this 2017 Solar Eclipse Party for anyone who would like to join in this extraordinary experience.”

Colorado Department of Transportation is asking anyone who is planning to drive to Wyoming or Nebraska (both in the “totality” path of the eclipse) to be prepared for a lot of traffic, delays and headaches for this unique event.

Larimer County has set up a great way to stay in touch with traffic, emergency and weather alerts for the event. Just text the word “ECLIPSE” to 888777 and you will get all you need to know. In Colorado, you can also go to and in Wyoming, you can go to for real-time traffic updates.

Currently, predictions for attendance in Wyoming and Nebraska are very high. Some experts are predicting up to 600,000 more people cramming into Wyoming to witness this. That’s basically doubling the population of the state. And we know a lot of those folks are going to be coming from the south so all Colorado highways heading there (I-25, US 287, US 85, CO 52, etc.) are expected to be busy.

Since the eclipse is on a Monday, traffic is expected to be heavy through the whole weekend before but will probably be even worse coming back after the sun shines again.

CDOT is partnering with our local first responders and the Colorado State Patrol – as well as our partners at the Wyoming Department of Transportation – to provide some tips on making your eclipse trip something great to remember:

Pay attention, and don’t drive distracted. Drive defensively because there will be more motorists on the road, and some of them may be slowing down or may not be paying attention when the eclipse is occurring.

Ensure vehicles have plenty of fuel.

Don’t stop and pull off onto the side of the roads.
Don’t use the center median crossings on the interstates for turning around or parking. Those crossings are for authorized vehicles. Emergency vehicles need to keep these areas clear for response to emergency situations.

Don’t park on any highway shoulder or in any ditch area. That can not only be dangerous for you and other drivers, but a person’s car exhaust could start a grass fire.

Plan ahead and move to a safe and legal area prior to the eclipse so you can enjoy the experience.

Use eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse. These glasses provide eye protection from the eclipse.Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. It is unknown how busy traffic will be, but with hotels and campsites sold out, we are expecting large amounts of traffic surrounding this momentous event.

This is also the first day for Colorado State University students and freshman orientation for Colorado University.

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