For the first time since 1918, the shadow of the moon will sweep across the entire continental United States. An estimated 50 million Americans will be in the “path of totality,” experiencing a complete solar eclipse on August 21. In Western New York, viewers will see a partial eclipse: about 77 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.
In preparation for the event, Buffalo State will host a training session for volunteers, teachers, and staff of participating organizations on Thursday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m. at the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium. The training will be held on April 20 because the sun will be following the same path as on August 21, the date of the eclipse.
“The path of totality is the path, about 70 miles wide, where the eclipse is total,” said Kevin Williams, associate professor of earth sciences and science education and director of the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium. “It’s a huge event—hotels in the path of this year’s eclipse have been booked for months, even years.”
Preparation for 2024
In 2024, Western New York will be in the direct path of totality during another total solar eclipse. Williams said, “We are working with the Buffalo Eclipse Consortium to prepare not only for this summer’s eclipse, but to develop partnerships for 2024.”
Williams is leading Buffalo State’s role in the Buffalo Eclipse Consortium. Williams, with Buffalo State alumnus Mark Percy, director of the Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium, will be on hand April 20 to present the training. “Safety is critically important,” said Percy, “and we will have equipment on hand to demonstrate how to see the eclipse safely.”