How can I experience the total solar eclipse?

On April 8, Mainers will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a rare cosmic event without traveling out of state: a total solar eclipse. Space enthusiasts from across the U.S. are flocking to communities in rural Maine like Jackman and Houlton and enjoy three-and-a-half minutes of totality, when they can see a ring of light surround the moon as it blocks the sun. 

Shawn Laatsch, the director of UMaine Versant Power Astronomy Center, and his graduate student, Nikita Saini, have been preparing for the event for a long time. They are coordinating the viewing and recording of the eclipse, through which they will gather valuable data.

On this episode of “The Maine Question” podcast, Laatsch and Saini discuss the spectacle and how to experience it safely. They will also describe what inspires them to study the cosmos and answer various questions about space, such as whether there is life on another planet and what the best space-based movies and TV shows are.