WXXI AM News

Rochesterians get ready for today's solar eclipse

Aug 21, 2017

Credit freeimages.com/Edwald Brunmuller

Expect some decent eclipse viewing weather in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region this afternoon.

Meteorologist Josh Nichols says other than a few high clouds, it will be hazy, hot, and humid.

Our region will experience a partial solar eclipse starting at 1:14 p.m. and peaking at 2:35 p.m., when the moon blocks about 70 to 74 percent of our view of the sun.

You still need special glasses or pinhole cameras to safely look at the sun. Or, you can focus your gaze on the ground.

"Probably the most notable thing is going to be the shadows under trees because each one of the leaves where they overlap will form a pinhole camera and you get these hundreds of little images of the sun under the trees,” said David Meisel, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at SUNY Genseo. “This eclipse is going to be high enough in the sky that everyone will see that effect at maximum eclipse.

Meisel will be manning two telescopes at Geneseo this afternoon. They have special solar filters.  One of his students will be camped out at Letchworth State Park observing and recording the behavior of birds and other wildlife both before and during the eclipse.

Meisel says some radical scientific discoveries have happened at times of solar eclipse, including the first proof of Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Rochester area residents have a variety of options to take in the phenomenon. A eclipse viewing party is planned from 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the south terrace of the Central Library of Rochester’s Rundel Building at 115 South Avenue. 

If you want to gaze at the eclipse with goats, head to Lollypop Farm in Victor for  its 'Total Eclipse of the Farm' event from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Some Rochester area residents aren’t content with just a partial view, so they’ve traveled to the path of totality.

WXXI's Scott Fybush is Indiana with his family and may drive Monday morning to western Kentucky or Illinois, depending on the forecasts for those areas.

"I've been reading about it,” he said. “I'm incredibly excited about it. I'm kind of nervous about the volume of traffic and getting in the path of totality and back."

Carrie Andrews and her boyfriend traveled to Falls City Nebraska, but they too, have reservations at another place in case clouds are forecast at the time of the eclipse.

"Even if there are some clouds,” she said, “I still want to be totally present in the moment and just take in the drop in temperature that they say occurs, and listen for the birds changing their tunes, and the shadows and all sorts of amazing things."

Perhaps in seven years, tourists will flock to our part of the country. Rochester will be in the path of totality for the next solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.