The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
On August 21, 2017, North America will bear witness to an unusual shadow of darkness. Known as a total solar eclipse, this natural phenomenon occurs when the Moon covers the disk of the Sun, offering rare opportunities to experience the onset of twilight in the middle of the day, study certain properties of the Sun rendered possible only during eclipses, and witness odd effects on animal and plant behavior. With its 70-mile-wide path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, including parts of western North Carolina, this will be one of only a handful of total solar eclipses to cross North America this century. Join Museum astronomer Rachel Smith to learn about the physics behind eclipses, the exciting science made possible by such events, and how you can be part of this exciting celestial event!
About Our Speaker
Dr. Rachel Smith is Head of the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab and Curator of Meteorites at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Appalachian State University. Rachel is interested in how planets form in a range of environments, the possibility for extraterrestrial life, and the future of space travel and the human species. She is currently using the Keck telescope in Hawaii to investigate the early chemistry of planet formation around massive stars throughout our galaxy. Rachel received her PhD from UCLA and did a brief post-doc at Caltech before moving to North Carolina to begin her current posts. She collaborates with scientists at Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, and the Space Telescope Science Institute on current research projects.