Eager Kansas residents prepared to battle crowds in search of prime eclipse viewing location

The arrival of a total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 has people eagerly anticipating an extraordinary event that will engulf much of the U.S. in darkness. It is worth noting that this will be the final opportunity to witness such a phenomenon in the U.S. for the next two decades. The next total solar eclipse is scheduled to occur on Aug. 23, 2044.

Kansas, being near the path of the eclipse, offers its residents the opportunity to witness up to 90% of the celestial event. However, some individuals from the Sunflower State are opting for eclipse tourism to fully immerse themselves in this extraordinary phenomenon. As they embark on this journey, they anticipate an unforgettable adventure, albeit with the expectation of encountering large crowds and congested traffic along the way.

At 70 years old, Danl Blackwood eagerly anticipates his next photography project. He fondly remembers being present for the previous total solar eclipse in August 2017.

Blackwood expressed the indescribable experience of being engulfed in complete darkness during a total eclipse. He emphasized that only those who have witnessed such an event can truly comprehend its uniqueness. It had been quite a while since he last encountered this awe-inspiring phenomenon.

In April, Blackwood intends to travel to Russellville in Arkansas, armed with his camera equipment. Instead of capturing images of the eclipse itself, he has something different in mind.

“I’ve been searching for a location to witness this eclipse that isn’t too far off,” Blackwood expressed. “My fascination lies not in the eclipse itself, but rather in the visual and physical transformations that occur in the world. Observing people as they watch the eclipse is what captivates me.”

Like Blackwood, 74-year-old Dan Fellers, a resident of Shawnee County, is also gearing up for an out-of-state adventure. He and a group of friends will be embarking on a road trip to Texas. Fellers has already made arrangements to spend the night near the vibrant city of Austin. He is flexible and ready to adapt his itinerary based on the weather conditions.

“We’ll be on the move,” Fellers stated. “Our plan is to drive around until we locate a suitable spot.”

Fellers intends to steer clear of the interstate and opt for side roads throughout the entire journey to evade congested areas and traffic congestion. It can be perilous to drive amidst the event due to the peculiar lighting conditions and the distraction caused by the eclipse.

Rick Heschmeyer, a 66-year-old resident of Douglas County, shared with 27 News that he and his two sons are making their way to Broken Bow in Oklahoma. With previous eclipses drawing large crowds, Heschmeyer anticipates the need to remain flexible in order to secure the perfect viewing location for this upcoming event.

According to Heschmeyer, the 2017 eclipse serves as a clear indication of what to expect in terms of traffic. He anticipates a similar level of congestion, if not worse, due to this being the final eclipse to traverse the continental U.S. for the next two decades. With approximately 30 million individuals residing along the path, double the number from the 2017 event, and the increased publicity, the congestion is expected to be significant.

Physics Professor Karen Camarda, 55, from Douglas County, plans to drive to Clinton, Arkansas in April. She and her husband will be bringing along their equipment to safely observe and capture photos of the eclipse in real time.

“I’m really looking forward to witnessing the eclipse and hoping for clear skies,” expressed Camarda, filled with anticipation. “One aspect that particularly captivates me is the enchanting play of shadows that precede and follow the eclipse. The sight of tree leaves casting intriguing silhouettes during the event never fails to fascinate me.”

Camarda emphasizes the importance of taking necessary precautions when viewing the eclipse, such as wearing proper eclipse glasses. Neglecting to use appropriate eye protection or other safety measures while observing the eclipse can potentially cause permanent eye damage in certain individuals.

The upcoming eclipse in April will be visible in parts of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. To witness the complete eclipse in the U.S., one would need to travel to states such as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. For more information about the eclipse, you can click here.

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MBS Staff
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