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Hotel operators, retailers praise eclipse tourism; Public Square not so crowded

in Tourist 428 views

Jody Pettit, general manager of Watertown’s Hilton Garden Inn, said the weekend couldn’t have gone any better with eclipse chasers coming to the north country to view the solar spectacle.

The hotel’s 136 rooms were booked by tourists from all over the country to view Monday afternoon’s total eclipse of the sun.

“It was an economic boon for us, definitely,” she said.

Corey C. Fram, director of the Thousands Islands International Tourism Council, heard positive remarks from all kinds of tourism operators about visitors coming to the north country.

Eclipse chasers were so impressed with the region that they asked about what it’s like during the summer. He expects some of those folks will come back.

Visitors came from Long Island, New York City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Mid-Atlantic states and as far away as New Mexico and Oregon.

The north country got “a bump” in tourism from what would have happened this time of the year, Fram said.

Many were eclipse veterans who attended the celestial events in 2017 and earlier, he said.

Welcoming them at the North Country Welcome Center in Alexandria Bay, he talked to some visitors who told them that they were headed to places like Rochester and Buffalo.

But with the better weather here and concern for traffic, they decided to make their eclipse memories in Northern New York.

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Why you should wear eclipse glasses on April 8

in Astronomy/Event 358 views

Dr. Debra A. Koloms will tell you why you’ll have to wear specialized glasses for the solar eclipse on April 8.

Koloms is a local ophthalmologist, so she knows the importance of keeping your eyes protected during the total eclipse that day.

And this will be her third eclipse viewing — she witnessed one on a cruise ship in California in 1991 and in southern Illinois in 2017.

“Without glasses, looking at the sun is very dangerous,” she said.

Viewing the eclipse without glasses can burn a hole in your retina or damage it permanently, she said.

Koloms is an eye surgeon at Samaritan Medical Center and is ophthalmologist and medical director of the Center for Sight with patients in Watertown and Ogdensburg.

Koloms cannot emphasize enough the need for a pair of eclipse glasses for spectators.

“I don’t want you to be my patient,” she said.

She advised to wear glasses that are specifically for the eclipse and much darker than sunglasses. Regular sunglasses should not be used to look at the sun.

Just check that they have the International Organization for Standardization, or the ISO certification, on them to make sure they are suitable glasses, Koloms said.

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Comet could be a spectacular guest at April 8 esclipse

in Astronomy 413 views

A comet is on a path that could add star power to the April 8 eclipse.

Astronomy magazine reported in its April 2023 issue that amateur astronomer, astrophotographer and longtime comet-lover Dave Weixelman of Nevada City, California, discovered that comet Pons-Brooks will be near the eclipsed sun during totality of the 2024 total solar eclipse. Watertown is in that path of totality, and the city is expected to attract thousands of people to view the phenomena.

The Astronomy magazine article was headlined, “The ‘Devil comet’ will be visible during the 2024 total solar eclipse.”

Meanwhile, Scientific American reported on Friday that the comet, discovered in 1812, will make its closest approach to the sun in April, with its closest approach April 21. One planetary scientist told Scientific American that the comet is one of the brightest in history.

It’s uncertain how visible Comet 12P will be during the eclipse, even in favorable weather. But if clear, stars and some planets will come into view.

“Although the sun will be blocked at that time, the sky won’t reach true nighttime hues — it will be more like twilight — and our home star’s outer atmosphere, or corona, will be shining as well. Based on the current observations, during totality, the comet may be just barely visible to the naked eye, or sky watchers may need binoculars to spot it,” Scientific American said in its report by Meghan Bartels.

Aileen A. O’Donoghue, Henry Priest Professor of Physics at St. Lawrence University in Canton, said she recently learned of the comet’s potential to be viewable during the eclipse by reading the Astronomy magazine article.

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Watertown will host eclipse viewing event in Thompson Park

in Astronomy/Event 863 views

Thousands of out-of-town visitors are expected to converge on Thompson Park on the day of the total eclipse to experience lasting memories of the sky darkening and to see the shadow of the moon.

“It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Mayor Sarah V. Compo Pierce said.

On April 8, the city will host a viewing party, Total Eclipse of the Park, in Thompson Park for solar spectators coming from all over the country.

With such an influx of visitors, Corey C. Fram, director of the Thousands Islands International Tourism Council, said the city can’t get a much better marketing opportunity than hosting the eclipse.

Although it’s April and not the best time for the weather, Watertown “can impress” eclipse visitors by showing off its beautiful park, that it has 1,200 hotel rooms and it offers quality dining, he said.

“By being a good host, it’s allowing the city to invite those people back,” he said.

For more than a year, a group of local officials and volunteers in Watertown have been planning the Thompson Park event.

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Footage of an Eclipse on Mars Sparks Amusement Because it Looks Like a Googly Eye

in Astronomy 311 views

The Perseverance rover on Mars recorded the potato-shaped moon of Phobos crossing in front of the Sun last week—a Martian eclipse.

The rover was able to snap 68 images of the February 8th transit from its vantage point in the Jezero Crater, many of which unmistakably looked like classic, stick-on googly eyes, points out a science writer.

“Each time these eclipses are observed, they allow scientists to measure subtle shifts in Phobos’ orbit over time,” NASA wrote.

The pictures were captured using the rover’s left Mastcam-Z camera, usually used to take panoramic views of the Martian landscape.

Scientists will be able to use the data captured to study Phobos, named after the ancient Greek god of fear. Phobos is on a collision course with Mars, nearing the Red Planet at a rate of six feet (1.8 meters) every hundred years.

At that rate, the moon will either crash into Mars in 50 million years or break up into a ring.

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Watertown and north country schools plan half day for eclipse

in Event/School 453 views

With the potential of traffic jammed on city streets for hours, the Watertown City School District still plans to open school for half a day during the total eclipse of the sun on April 8.

Superintendent Larry C. Schmiegel said the district still plans to hold classes for a half day on that Monday, even though as many as 174,000 people could be coming to Watertown to view the eclipse.

In making that decision, school officials are concerned that the district will end up using all of its weather days before the day of the eclipse. So far, the district has used four of its six days.

Earlier this week, local officials were a bit surprised to learn that so many people could be coming to view the celestial phenomenon. State emergency management officials have put the higher number of visitors at 174,000 people and lower number estimates at about 43,000.

The path of the total eclipse — considered North America’s most anticipated celestial event for years to come — runs right through the north country.

During a city eclipse meeting on Monday, Schmiegel was told to expect that traffic will tie up city streets for hours and that school buses could be stuck in it.

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A Total Lunar Eclipse is Coming With a Flower Blood Moon – How to See the Night Sky Spectacle

in Astronomy 1,000 views

Night sky fans, on May 15-16 look up to see the blood-red spectacle that is a total lunar eclipse.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon slips into the Earth’s shadow—and those watching from South America and the eastern side of North America are in for quite the show.

If you’re an eclipse hunter living in North America’s west, or in Africa or Europe – you’ll also get to experience real beauty in the shape of not a total, but a partial lunar eclipse.

Such an eclipse can be a wonder to see, as it gives viewers the chance to witness the Japanese Lantern Effect—according to Farmer’s Almanac, in such moments the surface of the moon appears the color of glowing copper, gradating down to a beautiful “uneclipsed yellow sliver.”

To get precise times for the eclipse spectacular where you are, TimeandDate.com has you covered. Of course, as this is a lunar rather than a solar eclipse, you don’t need to worry about damaging your eyes by looking up.

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