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2017 Total Solar Eclipse
2017 Total Solar Eclipse

On August 21, 2017, a rare total solar eclipse will occur over the United State for the first time in 38 years.  Dubbed "the Great American Eclipse", Wyoming and Converse County are on the center line for fantastic viewing of this event.  Local area officials, such as the City of Douglas, are trying to project the numbers coming to our area in order to provide adequate public safety (Police, Fire, Emergency Services), water, sanitation, and facilities.  While the City is not planning any specific events, we do have processes for you to hold an event if you wish.  If you want to hold an event on any public property, such as a park, street, or sidewalk, you must complete a Special Event Permit application (see link below).  A $25 processing fee applies and a $200 deposit must be paid as well.  You will also be required to ensure that there are adequate trash and restroom facilities for your event.  For more information about City-required permits, call the City Clerk at 307-358-3462.  For more information regarding the 2017 Solar Eclipse and community events, promotions, and general information, contact the Converse County Tourism Board here.

Special Event Permit Application

Temporary Business Operations Sales Tax Form

If you are opening your property to camping and/or overnight guests, you are responsible for collecting and reporting sales and lodging tax. Contact the Department of Revenue at (307) 777-5200 for more information.  Go to http://revenue.wyo.gov/ and click on "Cover Letter, Solar Eclipse Event Application & Tax Rate Chart".

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety Viewing Precautions
Note that solar eclipse viewing eyewear can be purchased online from a number of vendors, including Amazon.com and private vendors.  Be mindful that ordering well before the day of the eclipse is best to avoid inevitable shortages.

NASA Solar Eclipse Website

National Solar Eclipse Website

Solar Eclipse Wikipedia Page

Additional Resources and Information

For a current list of ongoing events, available lodging, RV camping, and other valuable information for both Converse County and the State of Wyoming, visit:
Converse County Tourism  or Wyoming Office of Tourism 

According to The Great American Eclipse designated website, "The most dramatic scenery for this 2017 eclipse can be found in Wyoming...Dan McGlaun of eclipse2017.org has a great page dedicated to detailed eclipse predictions for communities within the path of totality in Wyoming." 

Converse County Interactive Solar Eclipse Map



Words of Wisdom from an Experienced Eclipse Chaser

By Matt Ventimiglia: For the past ten years, I have worked as a museum guide at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, which is a public educational institution operated by the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks. My curriculum vitae includes a bachelor’s degree in Physics (University of Colorado) and two master’s degrees: Cinema (University of Southern California) and Geology (California State University Northridge). By the time of my visit next year, I will have completed a third master’s degree in History. I also hold an active California Single Subject teaching credential for secondary schools with endorsements for Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Biology, and Mathematics (soon to include Social Studies). As an eclipse chaser, I have traveled around the world to witness eleven total solar eclipses, two transits of Venus, and three transits of Mercury. I have visited all seven continents and stood at both geographic poles. I am a frequent guest lecturer at planetaria and libraries in Southern California, providing slide programs that cover my travels and topics related to the cultural history of science and exploration. As a diversionary hobby, I play the Theremin, an electronic instrument that is manipulated without being touched by hand movements that produce tonalities. 

A total solar eclipse is one of the most spectacular events you will ever witness in nature. The difference between a total solar eclipse and a partial solar eclipse is like the difference between watching the last game of the World Series in the best seats of the stadium vs. just listening to the game’s description on the PA system from outside the stadium (a description attributed to Jay Pasachoff, Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and legendary eclipse chaser). A partial solar eclipse must be viewed with approved eclipse viewing filters to provide the equivalent eye protection of a #14 welder’s glass. You may also safely view the partial phases indirectly with a pinhole projection camera commonly made from a shoebox darkened on the inside with black paint except for the projection screen opposite the pinhole which is rendered flat white to reflect the image through a viewing port on the side of the box. 

The reason people like myself travel around the world to see these events is because DURING THE MOMENTS OF TOTALITY IT IS ACTUALLY SAFE TO LOOK AT WITH THE NAKED EYE. The moon’s black silhouette then completely covers the otherwise bright photosphere of the sun, blocking all dangerously blinding UV radiation. During these moments, the sky takes on a condition similar to nautical twilight but with an orange or apricot ‘sunset’ glow around the entire horizon. Planets and bright stars become visible. The most startling thing of all: the corona – the sun’s outer atmosphere – becomes visible, resembling luminous angel hair stretching for millions of miles into space in many directions. The inner atmosphere (called ‘chromosphere’) becomes visible also, especially just after 2nd and before 3rd contact (the beginning and ending of totality). This feature appears pink or magenta and can sometimes reveal large flame-like prominences, which are eruptions in the chromosphere many times larger than the Earth.  These can be visible to the naked eye but are usually best observed with binoculars. 

Towards the end of totality, a distinct brightening of the corona will occur just off the western limb of the moon’s black silhouette which presages the end of totality. At this point, one should stop viewing with binoculars and prepare to briefly witness the ‘diamond ring’ at 3rd contact with the naked eye. This phenomenon is caused by the irregular horizon of the moon’s limb, allowing only a single part of the edge of the sun’s photosphere to shine down a narrow lunar valley. When the diamond ring occurs, you do not need to look instantly away – BUT YOU MAY LOOK SAFELY FOR NO MORE THAN ONE SECOND (‘one, one thousand…), THEN YOU MUST LOOK AWAY and resume using your eclipse filter glasses to watch the egress partial phases during the remainder of the eclipse. VERY IMPORTANT: If you were to continue to look at the partial eclipse with the naked eye for several seconds following 3rd contact, even though it would not seem terribly uncomfortable to do so, you would risk permanent damage to your eyes. You would destroy your central vision where your retinae has the highest concentration of photo-receptors. You would be unable to read for the rest of your life, becoming legally blind. But if you follow the rules mentioned above carefully, you will witness the full grandeur of a total solar eclipse in a safe and exhilarating manner. 

Those who have never before seen a total solar eclipse will have their lives transformed, immeasurably enriched, and come to appreciate more vividly their place in the solar system and the Universe. They will be deeply humbled, even if not professing any traditional Faith. Many people upon seeing a total solar eclipse for the first time are reduced to tears of wonder and joy.

Photo Gallery

For more photos, see the following Photo Gallery with all photos provided by Matt Ventimiglia, which were taken during his most recent eclipse-chasing trip to Indonesia where a total solar eclipse was observed in the Makassar Strait between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi, as well as some from a solar eclipse that occurred over Libya.

Matt also stated that other phenomena might also be witnessed during a total solar eclipse. These include "shadow bands", which are ripples of light moving rapidly across the ground before 2nd and after 3rd contact that resemble the play of sunlight on the bottom of a swimming pool. Animals might behave oddly as well: birds often return to their roosts, thinking that nightfall is approaching; coyotes might yip..! But with a crowd of people you will probably just hear a lot of cheering...and then people settle into to a quiet Zen-like state and typically swoon... 

He also stated that "No single photo can capture the impression a total solar eclipse will make upon the human observer. Today digital composites of a few or several different exposures can come closer to this impression, but these events have to be seen to be believed." 

Per Matt, totality will end in Douglas WY on August 21, 2017, at 11:46min:48sec MDT. Make sure your watch is synchronized to official atomic-clock time accurate to the second! 

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery