2017 Total Eclipse informational session at Public Museum set for March 1

The Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum


The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) and the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) on Wednesday, March 1, for a special presentation on what people in West Michigan can do for the 2017 total solar eclipse.


On Aug, 21, the first significant total eclipse of the sun visible across a broad area of the continental United States since 1970 will take place midday. As the moon slips between the earth and sun, observers within the 70 mile wide band of the total eclipse, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, will witness complete darkness for up to two minutes and forty seconds.


On March 1 at 7:30 p.m., Dave DeBruyn, Curator Emeritus of the GRPM’s Chaffee Planetarium and current GRAAA President, along with WZZM Meteorologist George Lessons will give a presentation about this year’s eclipse including useful tips to potential eclipse chasers and answer questions. The duo will also share information about the GRPM’s eclipse event that will take place at the GRPM on August 21, 2017.


DeBruyn will discuss how the motions of the sun and moon produce eclipses, but rarely total solar eclipses over a given location. Participants will learn what to look for and concentrate on during the eclipse, as well as what not to do. DeBruyn has traveled the world to see five total solar eclipses.


Lessens will discuss prospects for clear weather at various places along the path of totality. A weather system at the place of observation at eclipse time or midday convective cloudiness in the air could ruin viewing opportunities. Lessens will suggest locations where that is least likely to happen.


The presentation on March 1 will take place in the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Meijer Theater and is free to attend for the general public.