Alamogordo – Roughly every 18 months or so, a total solar eclipse happens somewhere on the globe. For the first time in 26 years, this incredible event is coming to America – but the path of totality is only about 70 miles wide starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.
The rest of the country will experience a partial eclipse, with the percentage depending on where you are. Learn more about this exciting celestial event and how to view it safely during the free Launch Pad Lecture at 9:00 am on Friday, August 4th, at the New Mexico Museum of Space History with well-known amateur astronomer James Tomaka.
Tomaka worked as a NASA contractor Systems Engineer supporting the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Program for over 27 years. Since 2012, Mr. Tomaka has been employed by Trax International as the Optics Staff Engineer supporting the Army’s mission at White Sands Missile Range, NM.
Jim is well-known in the amateur astronomy community and also serves as a volunteer ranger at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park handling the night sky interpretive program. In addition to his regular full-time job, he has been actively volunteering in supporting science–related activities in the local community.
These events bring Mr. Tomaka in contact with between 500 to 1000 elementary, middle and high school students per year. He has leveraged his contacts through his career at NASA, along with the US Army, to bring educational outreach materials to these students and their teachers in south-central New Mexico and encourage a new generation of scientist and engineers.
The Launch Pad Lecture is free to the public and is held at 9 a.m. on the Museum’s first floor on the first Friday of each month. Coffee and donuts are compliments of the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation.
The next Launch Pad Lecture will be on September 1, 2017 and the topic will be A Long Way From Home: The Trip of Voyager 1 with Museum Curator Sue Taylor.
For updates and more information, visit the museum’s Facebook page.