Hello fellow Earthlings.

Monday, 21 August 2017, will be a big day in the US.  A total solar eclipse will cross the entire continental US, from Oregon to South Carolina.  You and your family are invited to see this spectacle on a simple one-day bus trip that I am planning in cooperation with ISM.  We’ll drive to the area near Kansas City--which is the closest location and one that will allow easy adjustment in the event of clouds (Yes, I’ve analyzed the weather patterns, and this is better than most other places).   We will take a comfy coach bus with 50 people (and toilet) to see the entire show, and are avoiding motels and camping by driving down and back.  Viewing a total solar eclipse is definitely worth 14 hours of driving!  I think this will be the science experience of a lifetime.  The last total solar eclipse within 400 miles of Minnesota was in 1963.   The next two are in 2024 and 2045, and are not nearly as close or with such good viewing.

 

This is our agenda:

Depart ISM parking lot at 1:00 am on 21 Aug. 

Drive, with plenty of stops, to KC.

Get in position along the path of totality, probably in a park or a school, by 11:30, when the moon begins to block the sun.

Have a picnic lunch during the darkening.  Totality starts right about 1:00 pm.

Stay until the partial eclipse is done at 2:30pm.

Drive home, and find supper along the way.

Arrive at ISM by midnight.

 

This is a pretty hefty bus ride,  and a long day, so unless accompanied by parents, this is limited to grades 6-12

The bus, a box lunch, gratuity, and viewing glasses are included, for a total cost of $120.

Seats will be reserved when a check  is turned into the office.

 

I hope, no matter how you go, that you do see the eclipse.  Let me know if you have questions about this trip.

Rod Fisher, Head of Science, Upper School

 

Info:

This map shows the path of the eclipse over the Midwest.  The shadow will traverse Nebraska and Missouri in about 25 minutes.  The partial eclipse will last about 3 hours while totality lasts about 3 minutes.  If clouds are prevalent near Kansas City, then we will adjust our viewing location as we drive down.  This is why a couple hours of safety are built in.

 

FAQs:

Will mystical and magical things happen to me during totality?  Yes

Will it be dark?  As dark as night, with stars and an odd looking black ball with a halo around it.

Will the birds fall silent and the coyotes howl?  I don’t know, let’s go find out.

Can I see the eclipse in Minnesota?  You can see a partial eclipse, which will be cool, but not nearly as awe inspiring as totality.

What’s the geekiest website you’ve found so far on the eclipse?   http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/TSE_2017_GoogleMapFull.html

Will Dr. Fisher talk about astronomy on the bus?  As you wish.

Can I cancel if my plans change?  Yes, but we need to pay for the bus, so if you’re too late to cancel, we won't be able to refund.

Will we sleep on the bus?  Yes, bring a pillow.

Where exactly are we going?   Probably a rural area near Kansas City, depending on the weather.  We will plan to be in the wide zone of totality.

Is observing an eclipse safe?  Absolutely, if you use eclipse glasses during partial and then during totality you can take them off.  I am providing glasses.

Can my kids invite friends?  Just check with me first.  

How will the bus driver manage 23 hours of travel?  Voigt Bus Company is assigning two drivers and they will have a bunk on the bus.

 

 

 

 

Hello, and welcome to my courses.  I have taught at ISM and been Head of Science, Upper School, since 2007, and have been the founding and lead mentor for WE ROBOT Team 2705 since 2008.  I am a farm boy from Iowa, got my BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State, then was Assistant Professor of Chem E at the U. of Washington in Seattle, where my research was on protein and fermentation separations.  That was fun, but I wanted to see ideas put into practice, so I came to Minneapolis to be a researcher at Cargill, Inc, where industrial fermentations were taking off.  After 18 years I was Assistant Vice President and Technical Director and learned what I came to learn, so I returned to teaching, although this time I picked high school, where students are deciding what they like and what they feel good at and what they want to do.  I am married, and we have a daughter now trained in design, her husband and our grandson, and we have a son trained as a mechanical engineer.  Give me free time and I will run, bike, swim, hang with friends, build something, or play with my honeybees.

Rod Fisher, 2017

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