Solar Eclipse Special Coverage: Hour 1

Download Audio

Listen to hour two of special eclipse coverage here.

To kick off hour one of special eclipse coverage, NPR's Joe Palca (@joesbigidea) and Harvard University astronomer Laura Kreidberg (@lkreidberg) join hosts Robin Young and Meghna Chakrabarti to explain what to expect as the moon's shadow approaches North America. Then we hear from Oregon Public Broadcasting's Chris Lehman (@CapitolCurrents) in Salem, Oregon, as totality reaches the United States.

As the shadow passes through western Oregon, people in Idaho prepare for the show. We speak with scientists at the Lost River Field Station, and check in with the town of Sweet, Idaho, to hear how people there are celebrating.

Author Bruce Feiler (@brucefeiler) is watching the eclipse from South Carolina, and helps us understand the religious — or at least spiritual — awe that comes along with viewing totality.

Also, schools in the path of totality are using the day to teach kids about the universe. Leah Cook, a teacher in Trico, Illinois, explains what's happening in her classroom. Plus, poet Ron Rash is using the day to write about the wonders of a total eclipse. He'll be writing poetry as the shadow races across the continent, and joins us to share his thoughts.

Here's Rash's poem, "Eclipse" (reprinted with permission by Ron Rash):

This afternoon in Clemson, South Carolina,
we raise our eyes as our ancestors did,
but know that what we see is not a sign
of some calamity, a god’s displeasure,
yet as the sun and moon and earth align
something those before us felt survives,
eclipses all our knowledge and we share
the wonder as day and night become one.

And, millions of Americans are traveling to areas of totality. We check in with Rebecca Ladd, who's organizing the Wyoming Eclipse Festival in Casper, Wyoming, and with one eclipse tourist about road conditions and crowds in Hopkinsville, Kentucky — expected to be one of the busiest spots on the map.

We close out the hour with Grant Gerlock (@ggerlock) of NET Nebraska, as the famous Carhenge landmark goes dark. And we preview totality in Missouri with KCUR's Frank Morris (@FrankNewsman).

This program aired on August 21, 2017.

More Eclipse Coverage:


More from Here & Now

Listen Live