This summer marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped to the moon’s surface while Michael Collins flew above them in lunar orbit. About 650 million people worldwide watched the live event on television. Millions of others listened to it on their radios or followed the progress of the astronauts in their newspapers. Those of us who watched will never forget where we were when those grainy images of human beings on the moon’s surface flickered on our television screens.
Expectation reigned at Clingmans Dome the morning of Aug. 21 as buses rolled in carrying the 1,325 people lucky enough to snag tickets for the solar eclipse event at the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
On Monday, Aug. 21, Western North Carolina residents and visitors will have the chance to see a rare total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 26 years that America has seen a total solar eclipse, and it is one of the few that will sweep the nation from Pacific to Atlantic coasts.
On Aug. 21, the day of the Great American Eclipse, 50 high-altitude weather balloon teams from across the country will launch their payloads into the air to capture live images and video from the edge of space that will go straight to NASA’s website.