by Ivan Foley
Are you ready for Monday?
That’s the day of the total solar eclipse. It won’t be your average Monday.
During the total solar eclipse, air temperatures can drop 10 degrees or more.
Animals and insects will react as if it’s nighttime. Insects will start chirping, cows will head to the barn. The sky will be dark but will appear as if there’s a full moon. Stars and planets will be observable. Venus will be the brightest.
This will be the first total solar eclipse to be experienced in the Kansas City and St. Joseph regions since 1806, more than 200 years ago, say astronomy experts.
There have been partial eclipses in this area since that time. But not a total eclipse since 1806, according to the experts. So get ready for what will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
During totality, the moon completely covers the disc of the sun. Only the sun’s corona--an aura of plasma surrounding the sun--is visible. This is the most dramatic stage.
Here’s a general time frame of when things go down in Platte County.
In Platte City:
•11:40 a.m., the partial eclipse begins.
•1:06 p.m. in Platte City, the total eclipse begins. Platte City will experience two minutes ten seconds of darkness.
•1:07 p.m. in Platte City, the maximum eclipse experience occurs.
•1:08 p.m. the end of the total eclipse.
•2:34 p.m. the partial eclipse ends in Platte City
•11:41 a.m. the partial eclipse begins
•1:08 p.m. total eclipse begins in Parkville, lasting slightly more than two minutes.
2:35 p.m. the partial eclipse ends in Parkville.
Experts say it is never safe to look at the sun without protection, and the view leading up to the total solar eclipse is no different. Wearing safe eyewear is essential. You’ll want a pair of acceptable eclipse shades, compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standards. Your glasses should have that ISO rating on them.
The Landmark Newspaper has helped distribute more than 1,400 free pairs of the eclipse shades. The newspaper ran out of the glasses it had on hand last week, with no more on the way. Some area retailers may have them for sale.
This total eclipse will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.
PUBLIC VIEWING AREAS
In Platte County a few public viewing events are planned the day of the eclipse. Platte Ridge Park, north of Platte City along Hwy. 371, will be open for those who want to experience the eclipse at that location. The park will be open with concession stands operating. Platte County Parks and Recreation is expected to have solar safety glasses available free of charge.
Jennifer Goering of the Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau says Platte Ridge Park has parking spaces for 350 cars.
The Platte County Commission says the lawn of the Platte County Courthouse on the square in downtown Platte City will be open as a viewing location. County commissioners have said they’ll use their own private funds to provide bottles of water. Eclipse shades are expected to be available for handing out, as well.
The Missouri Conversation Department has indicated the Platte Falls Conservation Area, 16800 Settle Station Rd, Platte City, will be open for viewing.
Goering says there is a free event in downtown Weston.
In southern Platte County, Park University will host a solar eclipse watch party, billed as #TotalEclipseOfThePark, on Monday, Aug. 21, starting at 12:30 p.m. at Julian Field on the University's Parkville Campus (adjacent to the University's 6th Street [west] entrance). A limited number of eclipse viewing glasses will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
Various private businesses are planning special promotions and activities surrounding the total solar eclipse, Goering said.
For an interactive map that lists approximate times to watch in each area, and a full list of recommended conservation areas for viewing and details on each area, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website at mdc.mo.gov/eclipse. A printable map is also available at the bottom of that page.