Eastern Idaho anticipating thousands to attend solar eclipse 2017
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IDAHO FALLS — Businesses in Idaho Falls and surrounding areas are beginning preparations for a rare event, the last one taking place in Idaho in 1979 — a total solar eclipse.
But the 1979 total solar eclipse just missed eastern Idaho — this eclipse hit the region in the dead center.
On Tuesday, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce held a community information meeting about the Aug. 21, 2017 eclipse.
Hotels have already started selling out rooms for event. Originally city officials had anticipated about 50 to 60 thousand out-of-state visitors. Astronomer and guest speaker Jeffery Bennet thinks it will be significantly more.
“I actually would guess it would be ten times that number. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one sixth of the population of Utah deciding they want to be in the path (of the eclipse),” Bennet said during the meeting.
During a solar eclipse the moon passes between the earth and the sun. The moon’s shadow is cast on the earth and those within the path of the shadow will experience the total eclipse.
Bennet said the moon’s shadow will be traveling across the country at about 1,000 miles per hour. The city of Mackay will fall directly in the center of the shadow, with Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Rigby, and Jackson all within the radius. The shadow is said to be about 80 miles wide.
Idaho Falls will experience over two minutes of total darkness minus the ring of the light around the moons shadow known corona.
More solidified plans for public safety, traffic, and restroom access will be made as the date for the eclipse approaches.