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As August 21, 2017 and the Great American Eclipse draws closer I would like to reach out to the businesses that I may have not been able to talk to through various Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce eclipse presentations I have done for their membership.

During the eclipse weekend, August 18-21 Perryville will experience not only the Great American Eclipse but also an influx of people wanting to be as close to the center line of totality as possible. With the people will come the need for lodging, gas, food, snacks, groceries and many other items of personal necessities. Use this celestial phenomenon as an economic opportunity and think ahead business wise.

If you are in the hospitality industry plan a special “eclipse” themed dish, appetizer or special cosmic concoction to attract these hungry eclipse chasers. Plan staffing accordingly so that you may deliver the best service and provide the best dining experience possible. Some of our eclipse visitors may not have traveled so far and may be delighted to return and get that down-home Perryville hospitality again with friends in tow.

If you are one of our many convenience markets and/or gas stations then do make sure your shelves are fully stocked for the constant flow that weekend. Ice, drinks, sunscreen along with Missouri and/or eclipse souvenirs will be popular. Special attention may be given to your fueling schedule. If you normally get your tanks replenished on a Monday after the busy weekend I would avoid eclipse Monday due to the heavy traffic we are anticipating.

There are also several hundred-additional rustic and self-contained campsites opportunities available within Perryville and East Perry County. These campers will need groceries and supplies as nobody ever remembers everything!     

Nobody knows your business better than you do. So, take a minute to think of how you can promote your business, your service or your product to the masses that will visit, tour, shop, eat and sleep here during The Great American Eclipse. Moonier’s Florist has flowers named Eclipse and Night Sky. Fandangle has created Perry County eclipse jewelry. Hemman’s Winery will have a special vintage named Eclipse. The Barrens Winery will have their special vintage called Inner Circle and Jackson Street Brewco will be tapping its special eclipse themed brew that weekend. The Perry County Heritage Tourism has Perry County solar eclipse glasses and postcards available at the Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce.

If you feel your business does not fit into the tourism or hospitality industry and would like to be involved in this exciting event then we have some special sponsorship opportunities for the many activities we have planned for Solarfest weekend. Special thanks already to Perry County Memorial Hospital for being our sponsor for Perryville Solarfest, TG Missouri for sponsoring the Perryville 573Mudfest, Coldwell Bankers and Professional Associates for bringing the Dark Sky Mobile Planetarium to our Perry Park Center during Solarfest Saturday and Thrivent’s Tom Frasher for donating Library Telescopes to both of our Perry County Riverside Regional Library branches.  The opportunities are as many as the stars in the Milky Way! Don’t miss yours chance to shine.

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All the preparations, all the excitement and all the planning that is going into this Great American Eclipse event on August 21, 2017 will certainly pay off with an amazing experience. But if you want to see if your special spot or secret location in Perry County is in fact perfect then you want to be there on practice day, April 20, 2017.

When astronomers give the Sun’s position, they use the two celestial coordinates, right ascension and declination. These two values roughly correspond to latitude and longitude on Earth. On August 21st, the Sun’s declination will be approximately, 11 degrees 51’. So, if you want to “practice” observing the Sun where it will be on eclipse day head to your “spot” on April 20th. The Sun’s path through the sky will be the same as it will be on eclipse day.

You will want to be there during the same time as Perry County’s “totality” which will occur at 1:18pm. Maybe you want to set up a filtered telescope, run a test launch or take a few pictures. Maybe you just want to check out a perspective observing site. How far away are any trees? Are you too close to any buildings? Can you see the horizon? The Sun will be high in the sky when the eclipse passes over Perry County so obstacles blocking your view are less likely than someone in Oregon or South Carolina witnessing the eclipse’s sunrise or sunset. That too makes our area highly desirable, no eclipse pun intended. To have trees and obstacles around you will be good as certain phases of the eclipse will show eerie shadows, crisp sharp lines and the leaves on a tree can provide a kaleidoscope of mini eclipses fun to look at just as long as these obstacles do not block your viewing of the Sun and the experience of seeing the Corona.

Anything you want to try on eclipse day you can practice April 20th because it is the closest approximation to what you’ll see on eclipse day. The Sun will rise and set around the same times, and it will cross the meridian (the imaginary north-south line that passes through the overhead point; the Sun crosses it at midday) the same time as on eclipse day.

Here’s something to consider, however. The Sun’s declination doesn’t change all that much from day to day. In fact, if your rehearsal occurs as many as 3 days before or after April 20th you really won’t notice a difference when August 21, 2017 gets here.

My advice, don’t get all caught up in the scientific mumbo jumbo. Just know to scout your location so you have a plan on eclipse day. Whether you’re planning a backyard eclipse party, family viewing destination or public viewing site get you a pair of eclipse glasses go out and look at the sun and prepare to be amazed August 21, 2017.

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It's A Big Deal

It really is a big deal. Totally! On August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse will stream across our beautiful Perry County sky casting the moon’s shadow down on us turning our day into night and thousands of people will be looking up at that glorious corona with wonder and amazement. I’m told it is a very emotional experience. Some people will cheer, some will cry and most will be speechless after it has passed not knowing exactly how to describe what they just witnessed.

Eclipses aren’t rare, as a matter of fact most calendar years have at least four eclipses, which is the minimum number of eclipses that must take place in a year. Two of these four eclipses must be solar while the other two will be lunar. It’s easy to get these two types mixed up. An easy way to remember the differences is in the name. The name tells you what gets darker when the eclipse happens. In a solar eclipse, the sun gets darker. In a lunar eclipse, the moon gets darker. And to complicate thing more, there are two different types of solar eclipses, annular and total.

What makes a total solar eclipse seem rare is the ability to get in the shadow’s path to witness the “totality”. In most cases, eclipse chasers find themselves scrambling to find suitable sites for viewing.  Many solar eclipses occur over dense jungles, frozen tundra, unsafe territories or vast miles of ocean. The 2017 Great American Eclipse has a shadow path of approximately 70 miles wide and will start in Oregon and exit out North Carolina making this solar event an eclipse chasers smorgasbord of viewing site options!

But for Perry County this is an extremely rare event. The last total solar eclipse to touch United States soil was in August 1979. Although, many visitors traveled to the Pacific Northwest corner since it would be the last chance to view an eclipse in the United States for almost four decades, it was not directly observable due to the overcast skies.

The last eclipse to cross the United States like this summer’s eclipse, was on June 8, 1918. This solar eclipse swept below Missouri through Arkansas and exited out Florida. Little is mentioned on this solar event as much of our attention was focused on WWI and our troops abroad. In fact, the last time Perry County has ever been shadowed by the moon during a total solar eclipse was in 1442!

With our technology, highways, social media and viewing destination access the Great American Eclipse is poised to be the most viewed total solar eclipse event in astronomy history and Missouri is slated to be the most viewed state along its path by sheer population alone.

It’s said on average, the same spot on Earth only gets to see a solar eclipse for a few minutes about every 375 years. Eclipse events, rare or not, quite possibly could be more about the location. Perry County will get to experience a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 and then again on April 8, 2024 and that my astronomical friends, rare or not, is a really big deal!

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On August 21, 2017 at 1:18pm Perry County will experience a total solar eclipse giving locals some of the greatest viewing time across the United States at two minutes forty seconds of totality.

In anticipation of the Great American Eclipse of 2017 the City of Perryville has officially begun the daunting but extremely exciting task of planning for the astronomical event. Unlike many small rural communities in Missouri, Perryville has a unique front row seat to possibly the greatest solar eclipse the United States has or ever will see. But with that amazing view comes many decisions to make concerning the great influx of people that will also want to witness this spectacular natural event. With a city population of 8,225 and a county population totaling 18,971, Perryville will be ready to greet their astronomy fans and solar eclipse chasers possibly doubling their county’s population in one day.

Perryville’s Municipal Airport’s located near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River is directly aligned with the eclipse’s center path of totality giving lookers the maximum time of two minutes and 40 seconds! Boasting a 7,000ft. X 100ft. runway it is sure to attract many astronomers and eclipse enthusiasts from around the nation.

Perry County’s Eclipse Taskforce was assembled in November 2015 and has been strategizing on the best possible viewing locations, parking areas, shuttle routes, camping sites and various weekend entertainment leading up to the main eclipse event. This unique taskforce is made up of City and County officials, Economic Development Authorities, 911 Director, Park & Recreation Dept., Bois Brule Levee District, police, sheriff and fire departments, hospital, school district, health department, MoDot, Missouri Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation, regional and state authorities. These are the people, experts in their fields that will help us locate and organize great viewing sites, map the safest travel routes, provide community awareness, education and create an overall extraordinary experience for our local-residents and our solar eclipse hunters.

Starting back in August 2016 National Eclipse Taskforce member and Director of Astronomy for the University of Missouri, Angela Speck spoke during the back to school conference so that all our children could benefit the most out of this extraordinary educational experience.  We figured that by reaching and informing 500+ educators they will be better able to help as many as 3,500+ students ranging K-12 experience the Eclipse that day creating a moment in their lives they will never forget. We will also be keeping our area residents informed of our plans and events through the Perryville Chamber of Commerce website and our local radio station KSGM 980AM’s noon Focus program. This will be a series of radio interviews leading up to the eclipse event. And for our not-so-local solar eclipse visitors a Perry County Eclipse Facebook page and twitter account has been created so that they will be as informed as our residents about weekend events, happenings and eclipse specials.

As our taskforce continues to works diligently in the up-coming months developing the best possible eclipse experience for everyone know that as a singular event of national scale and with a global audience, this event will rival the moon landing of 1969 as a landmark event for a new generation! You’re not going to want to miss this!

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