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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Where Will You Be?

Where will you be on April 8?

That’s the question I asked the guide last year as I toured the famed Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of modern astrophysics, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

It was September, and not everyone in the tour group understood the context of my query.

Walter Chadick, the director of programs and external affairs at the observatory, replied, “I’m thinking that I’m going to watch in Evansville, Indiana.”

“Evansville!” I exclaimed to the group of 20 or so. “That’s where I live! Why are you watching the solar eclipse from Evansville?”

“I’m thinking, along with a group of scientists, that Evansville’s going to be a great place to watch.”

Crescent Shadows from 2017 by Kristen K. Tucker

Only 43 million people — less than 1 percent of the world’s population — live in what is known as the path of totality, meaning they will experience a total solar eclipse. On April 8, at 2:02 p.m., the 115-mile- wide path of totality will cross Downtown Evansville. The eclipse will last three minutes in the River City.

There is no comparison between a partial solar eclipse and total solar eclipse.

This was explained by Mitch Luman, former head of the science department at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science, at one of the first community eclipse meetings held almost two years ago: “The difference between a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse is akin to just being engaged to be married (versus) going all out, having a wedding, saying your vows, and leaving as a changed person.”

When North America experienced a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, Evansville was near but not included in the path of totality. Carbondale, Illinois, and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, were on the path seven years ago. Southern Illinois now is known as the Eclipse Crossroads: The 2024 eclipse totality path will intersect the 2017 totality path at Makanda, Illinois, 10 miles from Carbondale.

More than one million visitors are expected to visit the path in the Hoosier state; up to 80,000 visitors could be drawn to the Evansville area for the day. Where will you be?

In this issue, we’ll first welcome visitors to the River City for the eclipse. Then,
we’ll take a few road trips ourselves. Beginning on page 38, writers Amy Lynch and Catherine Anderson show us some of the ways residents and visitors will be able to enjoy our frontrow seats to see the moon position itself between the sun and the earth. Let us hope for a clear day!

Just as Evansville is a convenient city to visit for the eclipse, our location makes regional road trips a breeze. With spring break and summer vacations quickly (yes!) approaching, we highlight five drivable destinations to consider, beginning on page 42. We dispatched Evansville Living staff and freelance writers to Springfield, Illinois; New Albany and Jeffersonville, Indiana; Bardstown, Kentucky; Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Franklin and Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, to write about the obvious (Lincoln, bourbon, and Corvettes), unique, and quirky.

Top off the tank and hit the road!

I’d like to welcome Evansville’s 34th mayor, Stephanie Terry, to office. When I last wrote, Mayor Terry had been elected and not yet inaugurated. We look forward to writing about Mayor Terry and the initiatives of her administration in Evansville Living, Evansville Business, and our weekly newsletters, Navigator and Insider.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kristen K. Tucker Editor & Publisher

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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