2017 eclipse

The Modern West 27: Dark Side Of The Moon

Sep 19, 2017
GreatAmericanEclipse.com

August’s total solar eclipse drew hundreds of thousands of people to Wyoming for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Caroline Ballard

If you still have your eclipse glasses, don’t throw them away just yet. The Wyoming Department of Transportation is partnering with the organization Astronomers Without Borders in an effort to redistribute them.

J O’Brien, a spokesman for WYDOT, said this was the most widely viewed eclipse in history, and many people used solar filter glasses to see it.

Melodie Edwards

Jill Tarter is a woman who struggled her entire career with a double whammy.

Not only she one of just a handful of women in her scientific field, but that field was the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), something most people consider the stuff of comic books.

Tarter’s daughter works for the National Outdoor Leadership School or NOLS in Lander and, while she was visiting her, she spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the solar eclipse. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with her.

Maggie Mullen

People have been making preparations for years to travel hundreds of miles to see the 2017 total solar eclipse. In Casper, where thousands of people showed up, skies were clear and views under the path of totality were once in a lifetime.

The day before the eclipse, and downtown Casper was hard to recognize. Second Street had been closed off to traffic and hundreds of pedestrians were checking out the food vendors and the many different kinds of eclipse swag on display. Resident and vendor Brooke Hopkins said the most coveted item was going fast.

Goshen County is not used to being a major destination. But thanks to the eclipse, it was. Over 100,000 people visited the county to set up tents and campers as well as visit local festivities.  Reporter Cooper McKim flew over the county, saw downtown Tor
Cooper McKim

Goshen County is not used to being a major destination. But thanks to the eclipse, it was. Over 100,000 people visited the county to set up tents and campers as well as visit local festivities. Reporter Cooper McKim flew over the county, saw downtown Torrington celebrate, and witnessed the eclipse with hundreds of others in Fort Laramie. Here’s what it felt like to be there:

SETI Institute

An award-winning astronomer famous for her search for extraterrestrial intelligence spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the eclipse. Author Carl Sagan based the central character of his novel Contact on Jill Tarter, and the book was also made into a movie with Jodie Foster. Tarter is a fellow at the SETI Institute (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence). 

287 Lander Southeast
WyDOT

Traffic got back to normal yesterday, according to Wyoming’s Department of Transportation. Officials reported historic levels of traffic Monday, the 21, following the solar eclipse or a 68 percent increase of overall traffic compared to the five-year average for the third Monday in August — much of that concentrated in central, western, and southern Wyoming.

Doug McGee, public affairs manager for WYDOT, said visitors started entering the state in larger numbers last Wednesday, picking up each day leading to the eclipse.

Site overlooking Fort Laramie B & B
Cooper McKim

During the eclipse, the Fort Laramie B & B saw a bigger crowd than they have ever seen. The four-bedroom lodge saw more than a hundred camped out. The crowd was comprised of a family reunion, researchers, and tourists all gathered together. A group from the University of Montana was there thanks to a space grant from NASA. 

One student, Loren Spencer, took advantage of the clear sky the night before the eclipse to set up his telescope. With several gathered around, he pointed to a long streak that he identified as the Milky Way. 

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Heavy eclipse traffic in Wyoming caused slower travel than usual. Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Doug McGee said on Sunday alone traffic counts increased by more than 27 percent compared to the five-year average statewide. But certain areas saw exponential increases. For example, north of Laramie on U.S. 30-287 traffic increased by 214 percent on Sunday according to WYDOT.