Maine Town Prepares for Epic, Once-in-a-Lifetime, Solar Event
Almost anyone who is familiar with Maine’s Aroostook County will tell you that it is not an exciting place.
That is not meant as a dis. We all love "The County". Aroostook County is a beautiful region that is home to some of the country's hardest-working people.
It’s just not that exciting.
However, it looks like, for at least a few days in April, that will change.
According to NASA, on April 8th, a total solar eclipse will darken the skies over a large portion of the United States. The really epic part is that the center of the zone of totality will be over the tiny town of Houlton, Maine.
During a total solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the sun and the Earth. The Moon, which is much closer to the Earth than the sun, completely blocks out the sun. The causes the affected area to be plunged into darkness.
The eclipse is expected to start just after 11 AM, local time, in Mexico. The path of darkness will travel northeast, touching parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Finally, just before the shadow sweeps into Canada, it will darken the skies over Maine.
I am sure that we will get more specific times when we get a little closer to the event, but it appears that the darkness will reach Maine at about 3:30 PM.
Based on NASA's map of the eclipse, Houlton will be plunged into darkness at about 4 PM. The complete darkness will last for about four minutes. Yes, for a few minutes that afternoon, it will feel like midnight.
If you want to see if your area will be darkened by the eclipse, check out the NASA map HERE.
If you miss this one, the next time a total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States will be on August 23rd, 2044.
If you plan to watch the eclipse, take the necessary safety precautions. Learn more about how to safely watch an eclipse HERE.
One of the great things about this astronomical event is that it will be a big boost for the Houlton-area’s economy. It is expected that thousands of eclipse-peepers will descend on the town. These people will be staying at motels & campgrounds, eating at the area’s restaurants, and shopping at the town’s stores.
A former mill town that sits in the middle of potato country, Houlton features streets lined with historic homes, a charming downtown, and some great restaurants. You can learn more about the town from the Visit Maine website.
The last time something this exciting happened in Houlton was when, during the summers of 1997 and 1998, Phish brought their concerts to the old Loring Air Force Base.
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