Spacewatch: SpaceX reuses rocket to launch north American satellite | Science

SpaceX set a brisk pace this week, with two successful launches of the Falcon 9 rocket. The second launch by the company – whose chief executive is its billionaire founder, Elon Musk – re-used a previously flown first stage booster, increasing confidence that SpaceX could deliver re-useable rockets and so drive down launch costs.

The first launch took place on 9 October. The rocket lifted off from the Vandenberg airforce base in California at 05:37 PDT (12:37 GMT). It placed 10 communications satellites in a 400-mile-high orbit for Iridium, the telecommunications company.

Iridium runs a constellation of telecommunications satellites. This launch is the first of eight launches scheduled that will place 75 satellites in orbit for the company.

On 11 October a second Falcon 9 rocket lifted off, this time from Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida. The launch took place at 18:53 EDT (22:53 GMT), and carried a larger communications satellite into orbit for SES and EchoStar.

This second launch was notable because it re-used a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage. This part of the rocket first launched last February when it boosted a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station; it then flew back and soft landed in Florida for re-use. This booster has now landed back on Earth again, several hundred miles from Cape Canaveral on a drone ship.

Reusing significant spacecraft components is the key to SpaceX’s business model of reducing launch costs. After each flight this week all the first stages returned safely to Earth.

These launches bring the total of SpaceX launches this year to 15, establishing the company as a leading player in the satellite launch market. In September, Musk declared his intention to use his rockets to colonise Mars.

Grand Theft Auto V’s Ned Luke Stars In Home Invasion Film American Gothic

The film American Gothic, which was filmed entirely in director Stuart Connelly’s house, will arrive on VOD services on October 24. It stars Ned Luke, who played Michael De Santa in Grand Theft Auto V, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Slate Holmgren.

From the Press Release:
Author Stuart Connelly had an idea: what if he shot a home invasion feature film entirely in his house? The scenes would be absolutely unique because as the homeowner, he knows every inch of the house and how he could use its eccentricities to get an advantage during a break-in.

“Instead of just imagining a generic house and thinking ‘This happens, then this happens,’ I walked through a story room by room,” Connelly says. “My house helped write the picture.”

The resulting film, American Gothic – exclusively presented by ITN Distribution and directed by Connelly – will become available on all major American cable systems’ video-on-demand platforms starting on October 24… just in time for Halloween scares.

“Hair & Makeup, Wardrobe, and Special Effects were all in the guest cottage,“ says Rochelle Boström, a New York-based actress who plays one of the farm’s owners. “The horse paddock was crew parking! No part of the property was left unused.”

Connelly calls it a “narrative experiment, a dare,” but the final product is a straight-up classic thrill ride.

Down for the experiment were Ned Luke, best known as the voice of Michael in the mega-selling video game Grand Theft Auto and Slate Holmgren, just coming off a role on Broadway starring alongside Daniel Craig. “Usually on set there’s so much waiting, driving from one location to the other,” Luke says. “On American Gothic it was one scene to the next, no downtime.”

“I wanted to write a story that used every aspect of our house, which sits on twelve acres of farmland,” adds Connelly. “But that didn’t mean it just takes place on a farm. In my mind, Hollywood films are all about magic, and the magic here was to create a highway, a forest, a house, a dungeon… all aspects of the script.” In fact, Connelly reports the film’s plot was planned out based on the layout of the 300-year-old home.

“Their powder room was built over an old basement stairwell,” Holmgren says, “and that blocked off door behind the toilet became a plot point. When I read the script I thought it was clever, but I had no idea it was a real part of Stuart’s house.”

The attention to unique detail turned into efficiency, according to producer Mary Jo Barthmaier. “If Stuart had to write that scene and find a location or build it, that would kill the budget,” she says. “Instead, it was right there, and the scene becomes something we’ve never seen in another home invasion film.”

Shooting in the indie “guerrilla style” but having access and a plan meant that American Gothic, which was made very efficiently, could seem like a much more expensive film, Barthmaier says.

According to MovieMaker Magazine, American Gothic can “hold its own against indie horror films costing 10, 20 times the money.”

And the additional time freed up by this homespun strategy allowed the production to really focus on character, a rarity with lower-budget genre fare. “It has some of the best, most complicated characters I’ve seen in movies for a long time,” says Mark Barthmaier, who heads up the cast as an escaped convict desperately looking for a hideout. “Horror or otherwise.”

The film, which won the Best Horror Feature award at the 2016 Atlantic City Film Festival, has enough twists and turns to satisfy fans of thrillers and enough scares to give the most die-hard horror freaks something to sink their teeth into.

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Final Fantasy Trading Card Game Crowns First North American Champion, Opus III Cards Now Available

As the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game gains wild momentum in the states, US fans were elated to see the crowning of the first North American champion. Joseph Leszczyski of Milwaukee, WI emerged victorious in the inaugural Final Fantasy Trading Card Game Opus Series North American Championship. He and the other four finalists have been invited to participate in the World Championship Finals in Japan this November, where they’ll compete with the world’s top players. In a recent press release, Square Enix shared a picture of Leszczyski receiving his crystal trophy from FFTCG producer Taro Kageyama:

final fantasy tcg

At the top of this article you can watch a video showcasing some of the featured matches from the Championship semi-finals. You’ll notice most of the stream stars finalist Nathan Perez dominating the play mat until Leszczyski shows up at the end to begin his run. Watching the pros play can be a great way for beginner and intermediate players to get an insider’s look at how to properly build a competitive deck.

With the recent launch of the Opus III series of cards, there’s never been a better time to jump in. Opus III features cards and characters from Final Fantasy IX, which just released for the PS4, and Final Fantasy Type-0. While those cards are featured, the Opus III starter pack and booster packs will contain cards with characters and summons spanning the entire Final Fantasy series. Opus I and II packs are also readily available, and can be found at your local game stores or through Amazon (link here).

We recently got our hands on the Opus III starter deck and a few booster packs, and I found many fantastic new forwards to compliment and synergize an aggressive Wind elemental deck I’ve been working on. If we’re speaking another language, and you’re looking for a more basic introduction, Square Enix has put together a fantastic set of beginner’s tutorials here. You can also read our Final Fantasy Trading Card Game review right here to find out why we love it so much!

Symantec Warns Of Hackers Gaining ‘Operational Access’ To North American Power Grids – Page: 1

Symantec on Wednesday warned that a three-year hacking campaign that has targeted power plants in the U.S. and Europe appears to have intensified this year.

The security company said in a blog post that a hacking group called Dragonfly seems to be behind a recent series of attacks, which have both compromised energy companies and, in some case, led to hackers gaining operational access to power grids in the U.S.

“The Dragonfly group appears to be interested in both learning how energy facilities operate and also gaining access to operational systems themselves, to the extent that the group now potentially has the ability to sabotage or gain control of these systems should it decide to do so,” Symantec said in a blog post.

[Related: Security Firms: CrashOverride Malware Marks Newest Security Threat For Industrial Control Systems]

According to the security firm, the hackers are using a variety of methods to gain access to energy plant networks – including sending malicious emails to plant employees and operators, as well as sending files disguised as Flash updates that are used to install malicious back doors onto target networks.The campaign has been targeting energy grid operators, oil pipeline operators and industrial equipment providers.

For instance, one malicious email campaign sent emails to employees of an unidentified energy sector company disguised as an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party. Once opened, a document attached to these emails would attempt to leak victims’ network credentials to a server outside of the organization.

Hackers have also used “watering hole” attacks to target the power grid, through compromising websites that are likely to be visited by employees in the energy sector.

Symantec and some other security groups first exposed Dragonfly’s campaign in 2014, and it has since died down – but in  2017 there has been “a distinct increase in activity,” said the company.

Cybersecurity concerns have increased in the industrial control segment, particularly since December 2016 when a cyberattack briefly shut down power in parts of Kiev, Ukraine, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. In June, security firms Dragos and ESET revealed a new malware framework, CrashOverride, which they alleged was behind the Ukraine attack and is capable of taking down grids for a few days.

Marc Harrison, president of Silicon East, a Marlboro, N.J.-based solution provider, said that organizations in the power sector need to heed to several security practices – including limiting access to trusted devices, implementing two or three factor authentication on devices, monitoring all industrial control systems for suspicious behavior, and removing all external access to critical systems.

“Power plants are no different than any other business when it comes to cyber-security – it’s just that the consequences are potentially so much more serious,” said Harrison. “All of the same security best practices apply and need to be implemented and continuously managed.”

See NASA Satellites’ View of Great American Solar Eclipse (Video)

Many NASA spacecraft got a good look at the long-awaited Great American Solar Eclipse, as a striking new video shows.

The 75-second video combines imagery from a variety of NASA Earth-observing and sun-watching missions, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), as well as from astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The Aug. 21 eclipse cut a dark swath from Oregon to South Carolina, marking the first time a total solar eclipse had gone coast-to-coast across the American mainland in 99 years. No total solar eclipse had even touched the Lower 48 states since 1979.

Skywatchers had therefore been looking forward to the event for years. Scientists were excited, too; total eclipses give them the rare chance to observe the sun’s wispy outer atmosphere, known as the corona, which is usually drowned out by our star’s glare.

The solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, as seen by the Hinode satellite.

The solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, as seen by the Hinode satellite.

Credit: JAXA/NASA

Observations made during total solar eclipses could help shed light on why the corona is so much hotter than the solar surface, researchers have said. (The sun’s surface is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5,600 degrees Celsius; the corona clocks in at several million degrees F.)

In addition to the SDO, LRO and ISS imagery, the new NASA video highlights footage captured by the agency’s Terra satellite and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph spacecraft; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a joint effort of the European Space Agency and NASA; the Hinode satellite, a collaboration between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA; and the Suomi NPP spacecraft, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), which are all joint missions of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. 

The next total solar eclipse observable from the contiguous 48 states will occur in April 2024.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

Q&A: Bilquis, Technical Boy talk Moore’s Law, Internet love, and American Gods

Enlarge / No spoilers this high up on the page, but Bilquis and Technical Boy existed within the same show.

Warning: This story contains light spoilers for S1 of American Gods

The first season of American Gods surpassed whatever our expectations were for an adaptation of the beloved Neil Gaiman novel. Starz evidently felt the same way, quickly renewing it for season two and telling attendees during last month’s Television Critics Association press tour they’d be happy to have the series go beyond that.

“We’re on board as long as the show makes sense for Starz,” CEO Chris Albrecht said during his network’s event. “The vision of Neil Gaiman is the guiding light for all of us, and Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are the guiding lights of that.”

This week, home video options were announced for October (and streaming options are available now), reminding us that we’d been sitting on a pair of end-of-season Q&As with two of our favorite characters. Yetide Badaki (aka Bilquis) and Bruce Langley (aka Technical Boy) quickly captivated viewers with two very emphatic introductory scenes, and season one wrapped with a big showcase episode for the two actors (in which their characters coincidentally began to intertwine).

Before the finale aired—but after we had a chance to view it—Badaki and Langley kindly connected with Ars for interviews originally meant for a bonus episode of our Decrypted podcast. But since our audio productions took an unexpected summer vacation, we’re sharing these chats as full Q&As below.

Note: These interviews were lightly edited for clarity.

You remember how the season started, right? Bilquis just devoured... something.
Enlarge / You remember how the season started, right? Bilquis just devoured… something.

Starz

Bilquis

Ars: You’re a well-regarded sci-fi/fantasy geek in Hollywood and said in past interviews you read the book back when it came out. How did that impact your decision to get involved or to approach your character?

Badaki: First of all, just being such a fan of Neil Gaiman, the idea that I’d get to play in that sandbox… if you told me 10, 15 years ago, it wasn’t a germ of an idea at that point. But I was such a huge fan of it. Having all those ideas marinating 15 years before the audition, it brought a whole other level I don’t think I’ve brought to another project. Actors don’t usually get that kind of time to think of ideas and concepts.

So, yes, it heavily influenced the audition and the acting process. I had full grown ideas I got to play with, and that’s such a gift in acting.

Not only is the book a decade-and-a-half old, your character is hundreds of thousands of years old. Once you found out you’d be playing Bilquis, did you still find yourself in a research rabbit hole?

Oh yes, and that to me is the juiciest part of any role—where you get to research. With Bilquis, even though you have all these different texts from all these different cultures referring to her, they don’t say much. Even with the book, you have two scenes to get to know her—so there’s a whole wide universe to fill in. That can be a little scary, but it’s also really exciting to fill in those blanks.

As for the research, the fact that she was only ever referred to in reference to this man said a lot. Everything in between what’s said sometimes screams louder than the actual words. What we tend to know about the Queen of Sheba or Bilquis is through her meeting with King David and Solomon, and that says a lot about the character. It speaks to the idea of the feminine and agency through the years and centuries. Even in that story, you see that she goes to meet Solomon but she’s an incredibly powerful woman who can tell him to wait and who comes with all these gifts, all this wealth she brings. She also questions him with all these riddles, which speaks to great intelligence. It was fun to see where different traditions place her.

The show approaches Bilquis in that way, too—early on, you’re unsure if she’s a new or old god, if she’s good or evil. It’s not until episode eight that she’s really flushed out.

Exactly, it’s a perfect mirror. Even through history, the idea of the Queen of Sheba is still a little spotty. So we all get to go on that journey, who is Bilquis?

How was the fan reaction to you as Bilquis? Would people ask about the showy scenes from early in the season or are they interested more in who this character is and what’s to come?

The fan base has been pretty adept, showing such intelligence and attention to detail. Fans caught the connection to Technical Boy early, and I had to work really hard to not give anything away. [For instance], fans noticed that I was swiping in an early scene—they’re really quick.

Fans from all over have been loving the representation, which has been an incredible surprise. And many want to know more—why is she where she is? What is she about? They wanted to see the journey. I like to say even though we deal with a show called American Gods, it’s very much about the human experience. And there’s such a need for actual human connection in Bilquis, and a lot of people have responded to that. She sparked discussions about intimacy in the present day/age of technology, and that’s been refreshing and fascinating.

Some of those issues were around when the novel first came out, but 15 years later they’ve only been amplified.

Definitely, I’ve referenced a New York Times article that talks about how this generation experiences intimacy different than previous ones, and that includes sex. You’d think there’d be more given all the different ways to access it but—because it’s not just the act, it’s about intimacy at the end of the day—we’re having way more difficult connecting. It was occurring 15 years ago, but now it’s incredibly amplified. We’re a little more disconnected as we connect more through different devices.

Let’s touch on the finale—how do you feel about the predicament Bilquis finds herself in as we finally get her backstory?

First of all, it’s delicious story. No one on the show comes off squeaky clean if you dig deep enough. Even our protagonist, he did some bad things at the very beginning.

So I love that she’s now so three-dimensional. I think people can identify with the idea of survival and individuals working very hard to survive. Second, anything you assume you know [on the show] can ultimately blow up; assumptions are constantly blown up on the show. You might see this interaction with Technical Boy and think one thing, but it may end up in a totally different direction. Sometimes there are even misdirects within the misdirects. I like to joke that she’s the goddess of love and she just wants everyone to get along, but she’s also an old god. Old gods are old gods for a reason, and when you’ve been around for centuries or eons, time is a different experience for you. Different choices may seem a lot more temporary and part of a much larger chess game—I think fans can look forward to that idea being played with. When you have all the time in the world, how do you take up your time?

Do you have a favorite character from the book and has that differed from who you gravitated towards on the show?

I enjoyed Laura Moon in the book, but in the show I’m fangirling like crazy. But watching Cloris Leachman and Ian McShane, these were fascinating characters in the book, yes, but seeing them brought to life in a fascinating way really makes it hard to pick a favorite. But in the book, I really enjoyed reading that little section about Mama-Ji; I found it fascinating, and I’m curious to see that play out. It’s still hard to pick a favorite, though like the fans I’m eager to see the character Sam come out.

The Legend of Zelda When compared to American Tax Code

It turns out that Vah Ruta is not the only elephant to be uncovered when it comes to The Legend of Zelda. It just so transpires that Dwelling Republicans have taken an curiosity in the beloved Nintendo franchise, soon after the Dwelling GOP created a reference to The Legend of Zelda in a website submit about tax reform.

In the submit, entitled ‘What Do The Legend of Zelda and the American Tax Code Have In Prevalent?’, the Republican Party as opposed the release date of the first The Legend of Zelda to American tax code reform. “The action-adventure match was released in 1986, only 1 year soon after Nintendo [sic] was released in North The us,” mentioned the website submit. “And you know what else was released in 1986? Yeah, you do. The previous major reform to the American tax code was signed into regulation in 1986.”

The submit proceeds to explain that the Republican Party is scheduling to deal with tax reform this fall, with Dwelling Republicans spearheading the challenge. It is surely a thing of an odd option for an analogy, however, offered the ongoing good results of The Legend of Zelda as a franchise.

the legend of zelda breath of the wild news channel

Regretably, muddled metaphors apart, this submit from the Republicans is not going to be remembered for the reasons the Dwelling GOP would automatically want. The to start with try at the website submit was riddled with factual errors, suggesting that Nintendo was founded in 1985 and that The Legend of Zelda was Nintendo’s most effective-providing franchise. The submit prompted pretty a lot of mirth among the Nintendo enthusiasts, prior to the GOP took down the first submit, replacing it with an current version with a relatively awkward disclaimer at the starting admitting the errors.

This is much from the only time that politics and video clip online games have intertwined of training course, regardless of whether it is those people politically-targeted video clip games or the ongoing discussion about violence in gaming. Nevertheless, it is not likely that this is going to be remembered as 1 of the most thriving combinations of politics and gaming.

In its place, it just acts as a further instance of politicians possibly not obtaining to grips with video clip gaming as a total. That reported, it is most likely that the Republicans are happier becoming the butt of this type of joke, relatively than that of a Donald Trump Hitman level or a specific Surgeon Simulator growth. Here’s hoping that the future time this type of reference is created, it is created with a small little bit far more care and consideration.

Source: Dwelling Republicans

Are you ready for the Great American Eclipse? These NASA astronaut saw one from space. | Local

After more than 38 years — 14,057 days to be precise — the path of a total solar eclipse will traverse American soil. It hasn’t happened anywhere in the U.S. since Feb. 26, 1979.

Millions of people from coast-to-coast will turn their gaze skyward on Monday hoping for a glimpse of what’s being billed as the Great American Eclipse, so named because the eclipse will occur exclusively in the United States. Adding to the allure, it will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire country from west coast to east coast in 99 years.

Over the ages, more than 107 billion people are estimated to have inhabited the Earth. Fewer than 600 have escaped the planet’s gravitational bounds and flown into space. A group of fewer than 20, however, have seen a solar eclipse from space.

The latter group is expected to grow on Monday as the crew of the International Space Station is expected to catch a glimpse of the moon’s umbra — the 70-mile-wide dark, inner shadow — moving across the American heartland.

It’s an awe-inspiring view for those fortunate enough to have the experience.

“We’re a very fortunate group,” said Bill McArthur, a recently retired NASA astronaut and a veteran of four spaceflights. “You realize very quickly you’re very blessed to get to experience something like that.”

McArthur would know. He was serving as commander and science officer of Expedition 12 aboard the International Space Station on March 29, 2006, when a total solar eclipse crossed the Earth’s surface from the eastern tip of Brazil across the Atlantic Ocean and portions of Africa before ending over portions of Mongolia.

Despite the countless hours astronauts spend training for each mission to space, McArthur said he didn’t know about the eclipse until just a few days beforehand.

“There’s always a bit of pressure to be as prepared as you can be knowing if you blink you’ll miss it, so to speak,” McArthur said.

It was a similar experience for Donald Pettit, a current NASA astronaut and a veteran of three spaceflights.

“You have this amazing view that you can’t get any other way than being in space,” Pettit said. “You can see all these structural details — the umbra, the penumbra (the moon’s lighter outer shadow) —that astronomers and physicists through the ages never actually saw, yet they mathematically worked it out, and you get to see that they were right.”

Neither McArthur nor Pettit has ever seen a total solar eclipse from Earth. While they’ve both seen one from space, Pettit holds another distinction.

“I’ve seen two from orbit,” Pettit said. “It’s about time I see one from Earth.”

Pettit’s first encounter was with a total solar eclipse on Dec. 4, 2002, as part of Expedition 6 on the International Space Station. The second was an annular solar eclipse — one where the moon isn’t quite big enough to cover the entire sun so a narrow “ring of fire” is visible on the edge — as part of Expedition 31 on May 20, 2012.

“It’s just amazing to be able to see what’s going on on the scale of half a continent,” Pettit said. “It’s something you can’t see with your feet on the ground or in an airplane. You have to have the vantage point of being in space.”

Many members of the Michiana Astronomical Society are hitting the roads for the eclipse.

The moon’s shadow will travel about 10,000 miles across the Earth’s surface, from the middle of the Pacific Ocean across the continental United States to the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. The umbra will spend about an hour and a half crossing 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina.

Linda Marks, the vice president of the Michiana Astronomical Society, said society members will be spread out from coast to coast.

“We’re pretty much everywhere,” she said.

While all of North America will have a view of a partial eclipse, weather permitting, club members are hedging their bets on being in the path of totality. In South Bend, the moon is expected to block about 86 percent of the sun with the maximum eclipse coming at 2:22 p.m., according to NASA.

One of the club’s members, Granger resident Chuck Bueter, an amateur astronomer and past president of the society who hosts a blog at Nightwise.org, is heading for Idaho. It’s not just the total eclipse he’s hoping to see, however.

“One of the many splendors of an eclipse is you’ve got all these people looking skyward,” Bueter said. “After the eclipse, keep looking up. With the new moon at night it’s going to be amazing stargazing.”

As excited as Bueter is for this eclipse, he’s equally excited for the next opportunity to see a total solar eclipse in the U.S. — April 8, 2024. It will be another eclipse exclusive to North America as the umbra will cross Canada, Mexico and the United States. The part that has Bueter most excited is that unlike Monday’s eclipse, the path of totality will cross Indiana, just south of Indianapolis.

“We’re going to have totality in Indiana,” Bueter said. “We should prepare now.”

Having viewed Earth from the perspective of space on multiple occasions, both Pettit and McArthur said one of the aspects of Monday’s eclipse that excites them is the opportunity it presents to pique the interest of the next generation of explorers and scientists.

“Any time some natural event piques scientific interest in the public that’s a good thing,” Pettit said. “There’s any number of things that happen that show science and math front and center in terms of trying to explain what is going on.”

“The universe is an amazing thing, yet so much of it is still a mystery,” he said. “The more we can inspire curiosity I think the better off we are in the long run. We have the next generation of adults that understand where we stand in the grand scheme of things, our place, our environment and how to be good stewards for future generations.”

Great American Eclipse: locals hope to catch full experience, students plan to document | The Daily Courier

On Monday, Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will be passing directly over the United States.

This isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a total solar eclipse, but it is a convenient one for those residing in the U.S.

A solar eclipse is a celestial event in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Since 1970, there have been 104 solar eclipses, 31 of which were total. Of those 31, only three passed directly over a portion of the United States, according to NASA. The last to pass over a state was in 1991 and that state was Hawaii.

The last coast-to-coast total solar eclipse — like this one — to pass through the U.S. was in 1918, according to NASA data. The path stretched from Washington to Florida. This year’s ‘path of totality’ will start in Oregon at 9:05 a.m. (Arizona time) and will end in South Carolina at 11:48 a.m. (Arizona time).

This has sparked unprecedented excitement in the red, white and blue. Hundreds of thousands of people, including some from Prescott, have made arrangements to be in the path of totality at the time of the event.

J.B. Burke and his wife are two of those locals. They’ve read up on the phenomenon and started making plans about a year ago to see the full scale of the event.

“There are all kinds of people who say it is the most profound event that you’ll ever experience in your life,” Burke said. “It’s just kind of an amazing thing to see the sun blotted out and the sky go dark and the birds stop singing and all kinds of weird things happen for just a little while.”

Their plan is to arrive in Salem, Oregon, the day before and find a good spot outside the next morning to post up. There is some concern, however, that an overcast day could dampen the experience.

“I’m sitting and watching the weather reports to see if there will be any chance of seeing it,” Burke said.

Path of totality

For those standing in the direct path of the totality, the sun will be completely blocked out for about 2 to 3 minutes.

This doesn’t provide a whole lot of time to appreciate the moment. That’s why many are planning to document the occurrence.

Prescottonian and skilled photographer Bill Zombeck has made arrangements to not only drive to an area within the path of totality, but photograph the whole event from start to finish.

“I plan to do the whole sequence, so roughly two-and-a-half hours,” Zombeck said. “My plan is to take shots every 12 minutes.”

To do this safely, he has acquired solar glasses — which are highly recommended for anyone attempting to view the eclipse — and a solar filter for his camera’s lens.

“I’ve been practicing doing solar photography just in my backyard so that I get used to shooting the sun,” Zombeck said. “Cause it’s scary, you only have a couple minutes to get the totality shot, so you can’t be fumbling around. You need to know what to do during that time.”

How to view it safely

To view a solar eclipse safely, it is highly recommended people acquire solar glasses. These shades are strong enough so one may look directly at the sun and not experience any significant eye damage.

“It darkens the whole exposure, so that you can see the sun as an orange ball as opposed to just a white speck,” Zombeck said.

Though these “eclipse glasses” are cheap — maybe $1 or $2 each — it is important to buy those that actually do what they are designed for.

Just as there are counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses, there are fake eclipse glasses.

Typically, consumers should look for the stamp of approval from the International Organization for Standardization or ISO and a label indicating that the product meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. 

However, con artists have been reported to put such stamps on their glasses as well, so a safe bet is to purchase from a reputable vendor instead of just any random site online.

The American Astronomical Society has an online list of reputable vendors at its website. See www.eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.

Several major retailers have begun to sell ISO-compliant safe eclipse glasses or handheld viewers in-store as well, including Kroger, Wal-Mart, REI, Toys “R” Us, Lowe’s, Best Buy and 7-Eleven. 

Where to celebrate locally

For those in Prescott looking to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse, little more needs to be done than just stepping outside and taking a look.

Of course, the aforementioned protective eyewear is highly recommended. Aside from that, all one needs to do is reserve some time between 9 a.m. and noon. The peak of the eclipse — when the sun will be most blocked by the moon, will occur at 10:32 a.m. in Prescott, according to timeanddate.com.

If more of an event is sought for the viewing, the Prescott Valley Public Library and the Prescott Astronomy Club will be hosting a solar eclipse celebration from 9 a.m. to noon at the Prescott Valley Civic Center Amphitheater, 7501 E. Civic Circle.

The event will feature educational information on why solar eclipses occur, as well as activities for all ages. Free solar eclipse glasses will be given to attendees. Coordinators of the event can be reached for questions by calling 928-759-6188.

Live video stream link from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive

NASA video narrated by George Takei

NASA video: Get Ready for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Learn more at: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

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