Montana astronomy group travels to Idaho to view eclipse – KTVH

GREAT FALLS On Monday, a total solar eclipse will pass over North America, the first time one has crossed completely over the continent since 1979.

The path of 100 percent totality will pass through parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Most of Montana will see a partial solar eclipse, where sun obscuration will be greater than 80 percent, and more than 90 percent in parts of southern Montana. In Helena the moon will obscure just over 93 percent of the sun, darkening the sky over the Capital City.

John Thomas, thepresident of the Central Montana Astronomy Society,is traveling with a group to a remote campsitenear Idaho Fallsto view Mondays total solar eclipse.

We thought that by starting in January to find reservations that we wouldnt have any problems, he said. We were wrong there. We were just flat lucky that we found this place that were going to.

Thomas said the Societyhas looked forward to theevent for the past sixor sevenyears. This will be his first total solar eclipse.

I have seen a couple of partial eclipses, he said. Ive never seen an annular eclipse, never seen one of those, so thats on my bucket list.

Thomas said there are several eclipses in the futureincluding one in 2024 and another in 2044 butneither will follow the same path as Mondays eclipse making it a unique experience for viewers fromcoast to coast.

Its going to cover almost 4,000 miles across the United States totaland more people will see this than have ever seen an eclipse in recorded history, he said.

Hell taketwo telescopes along for the trip so he can view the sunin generaland specialized lights. The telescopes computerized mountalso featuresa GPS that will help Thomas track the eclipse.

My cameras would be mounted on the telescopes looking through the scopes and tracking the eclipse the whole time were observing it, he said.

He added that even with the impressive technology thats been developed to view events like a solar eclipse, its just as important to take a step back and enjoy the night with your naked eye.

Dont spend all your time taking pictures, dont spend all your time looking through the scope there, he said. Spend about 30 seconds looking at it with your eyes cause youre not going to see it again yknow?

Thomas said the groups campsite shouldgeta clear view of Mondays eclipse.The campsite is around 9,000 feet in elevation and they hope to beat any smoke in the air.

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Montana astronomy group travels to Idaho to view eclipse – KTVH

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