Excitement continues to grow for the Great American Eclipse. That's the solar eclipse that's sweeping across the US on August 21, 2017. The path of the eclipse will be right through the heart of the nation, and our friends to the south in Nebraska are at the center of things.

We'll get about 90% coverage of the sun here in Sioux Falls on eclipse day, but the path of totality will be right in the middle of Nebraska. That's drawing some attention.

Educator Bill Nye, of Bill Nye The Science Guy and Bill Nye Saves the World, is going to be at  Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Nebraska for the eclipse. Beatrice is just south of Lincoln, Nebraska. Homestead National Monument is near the centerline of the eclipse and will experience totality for 2 minutes 34 seconds.

Nye will join park rangers, visitors and others during a three-day festival focused on the total eclipse of the sun in August. On the day of the eclipse, Aug. 21, Nye will be on stage to welcome park visitors and highlight a new Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer booklet.

The Eclipse Explorer Junior Ranger program is a collaboration between the National Park Service’s night sky interpretive programs and The Planetary Society’s astronomy educational resources. Nye is CEO of The Planetary Society, an education and advocacy organisation focusing on space science and exploration.

“The Planetary Society is over the Moon to partner with the National Park Service for this great North American eclipse. Through a remarkable cosmic coincidence, our Moon is of just the right size and at just the right orbital distance from us to completely block out the Sun every couple years— a total solar eclipse," Nye said in a statement. "This year, this phenomenon will sweep right across the world’s third most populous country. It will be spectacular. We encourage everyone to experience this rare, extraordinary event. It’s going to be cool – I’ve been looking forward to it for years. Experiencing an eclipse changes the way you feel about the cosmos and our place in space.”

The Planetary Society

The festival at Homestead National Monument is free. It runs August 19 through 21 (the day of the eclipse). There will be eclipse-related science engagement and human interactivity with the sky, stars and planets. Homestead’s program lineup will include multiple NASA scientific presentations and the PBS KIDS’ show Ready Jet Go!. The Many Moccasins Native American Dance Troupe will perform. The program also features local musicians like Chris Sayer and the Spitfire Fiddle Band.

“We’re planning many special programs during the three days but we are thrilled that Bill Nye is joining us in a partnership to roll out a Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer booklet and Totality Junior Ranger Badge,” said Mark Engler, superintendent of Homestead National Monument. “Lots of lucky kids are going to complete the educational activity booklet, which features kids and Bill, and be sworn in as new junior rangers right after the eclipse.”

More about Homestead National Monument can be found here.
For more on the Planetary Society go here.
For more about the National Parks eclipse activities go here.

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