The city of Casper will become the national headquarters for a rare total solar eclipse in the summer of 2017. The event is expected to temporarily double the city’s population. That’s because Casper will be in the middle of the path of the moon’s shadow, which will enter the US in Oregon, cut a swath across the width of the country, exiting in South Carolina.
Convention Chairman Lowell Lyon with the Astronomical League--the group organizing the event--says the last time a total eclipse cut such a path was in 1918. He says it’s not an experience to be missed. “You look to the distance and you see this wall of black moving toward you and getting bigger,” he says. “And that’s the shadow of the moon as it touches down on the earth and starts moving toward you at about 2000 miles per hour.”
The Astronomical League will host a convention in Casper for the event with vendors and speakers which is expected to draw eclipse watchers from around the world. Lyon says his group met with city officials last week to resolve logistical issues.
“What we’re telling the city of Casper is every single hotel, motel, RV park and campground in the Casper area will undoubtedly fill up. And then what do you do with all the rest of the people? So that’s where the community is looking at things as basic as, we need port-a-potties!”
Lyon says Casper is the ideal host city for the eclipse because the skies are expected to be clearest there.