SIU professor shares his solar eclipse experience - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU professor shares his solar eclipse experience

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CARBONDALE -- Excitement keeps growing throughout southern Illinois, with one year until the total solar eclipse. 

People involved in planning for the event gathered in Carbondale Wednesday to discuss preparations. But there's one member of the steering committee who is teaching the community a thing or two about solar eclipses. 

The countdown has started at SIU for the solar eclipse, and it's got Bob Baer excited.

"We're showing an eclipse preview from NASA, and I'm going to be talking about eclipse plans at SIU Carbondale," said Baer. 

A special kick-off on Sunday will show us what to expect.

Baer said, "It's four hours of an eclipse preview."

Not long ago, Bob Baer, a Computer and Electronics Specialist at SIU, got his first look at a solar eclipse. 

"It was March 9, 2016," said Baer.

He traveled with a student, across the map, to Indonesia to take part in the Citizen Cate Experience.

Baer said, "It stands up Continental American Telescopic Eclipse. It's an experiment and we are gearing up to have 60 teams spread out across the United States for the 2017 eclipse."

While overseas, Baer used specialized imaging equipment to track the eclipse.

"The moon is just this large black hole in the sky in front of the corona, the sun. Then, the corona is a large white halo around the moon about twice the diameter of the moon," said Baer. 

He tracked the eclipse every step of the way.

Baer said, "There was a bright red prominence, looks like fire almost coming off the edge of the sun that you can see naked eyed during a total solar eclipse."

The total experience lasted only three hours and Baer calls his view spectacular.

"Totality was two minutes and 10 seconds," said Baer. 

With 368 days to go until the 2017 solar eclipse, Baer already looks forward to sharing the spectacular view with the rest of the world. 

The one-year countdown will take place at the SIU Student Center Auditorium on Sunday, August 21 at 6:00 p.m.

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