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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Total Eclipse of the Heartland

Aug 21, 2017
Weekly Capitol Report

On Monday, August 21, 2017, Missourians and folks all across the United States will experience a once in a lifetime event, the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse. The last time this happened in the continental U.S. was nearly 40 years ago. What’s even more exciting is that a total solar eclipse has not been seen in our area since 1442!

For a couple of minutes around noon on Monday, you can expect total darkness. Birds will stop singing, crickets will start chirping, and your farm animals may think it’s time to head back to the barn for the night. During this time, while the sun is directly behind the moon, we will be able to see stars and planets we can’t normally see. We will also be able to see the “corona,” or the outer edge, of the sun.

In the parts of Missouri that are along the “path of totality,” they are expecting record breaking crowds. Hotels and motels have sold out, and I’ve even heard about folks renting space on their farms for tourists in RVs and people who want to set up camp to watch the eclipse.

According to the St. Louis Eclipse Task Force, the eclipse will cut across Missouri starting at St. Joseph in the West and cross over to Ste. Genevieve in the East. More than 3 million Missourians live in the path of totality. Areas of our district that will be in the path of totality include DeSoto, Farmington, Festus, Hillsboro, Perryville, Potosi, Ste. Genevieve and Sullivan.
 
The Great American Eclipse is a once in a lifetime event, but it’s also a great example of the growing agri-tourism and entertainment industry in our area. As I’ve taken the month of August to focus on farms, I have seen just how quickly this industry is growing, and I am excited that we have a truly cosmic event to spur this industry along. In fact, at one of my stops in Jefferson County, they were getting ready to host an eclipse viewing event on their farm handing out eclipse viewing glasses, Sun Chips and more eclipse-themed gear!

This natural phenomenon is bringing visitors from all over the world to our little corner of the country, and while they are here, they’ll see for themselves what makes it great to live in the 8th.
We have an awesome opportunity to enjoy Missouri’s great outdoors and spend time with friends and family, but we have to do it safely. Remember, you cannot look directly at the sun without damaging your eyes, so you must wear a pair of certified solar eclipse glasses. If you can’t find these, you can watch online. For more information about local events near you, visit MissouriEclipse2017.com