This year Wichitans were within traveling distance of a total solar eclipse. A coordinated road trip of MakeICT members went up to the Crane Trust Nature Center near Grand Island, Nebraska. The weather was beautiful and traffic was light. Special thanks to James Lancaster for organizing the road trip and putting together an informative class on safe solar eclipse viewing and photography. James is involved in the Lake Afton Public Observatory in addition to MakeICT and we’re looking forward to growing our partnership with them.
Here are some photos by our vice president James Lancaster.
The next total solar eclipse within easy traveling distance of us will be April 8, 2024.
We also learned some lessons worth passing along about solar eclipse glasses. In late July we noticed solar viewing glasses were hard to find in Wichita, so we ordered 500 pairs from NASA-recommended manufacturers. We mentioned on facebook that we had the glasses on August 1, and about 50 were picked up at that first maker Monday. By August 10 or so we still had hundreds of glasses, so when a local business asked us for 200 pairs for their employees we jumped at the opportunity and our fundraiser was complete. That’s the week that everybody in Wichita seemed to realize they needed eclipse glasses and we were inundated with phone calls! So less for everybody next time: get your eclipse glasses a couple months in advance. They last a long time – more than the three years that the older ISO standard recommended. We are currently collecting glasses for Astronomers Without Borders. If you don’t want to save your glasses, drop them in the box on the front glass cabinet.