Planetary Radio • May 03, 2017

Be There! The Great American Eclipse

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On This Episode

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Bob Baer

Carbondale Solar Eclipse Steering Committee Co-Chair and Illinois Citizen CATE Coordinator for Southern Illinois University

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Michele Nichols

Director of Public Observing for Adler Planetarium

Mark Bender

Filmmaker for Eclipse Megamovie Team

Hugh Hudson

Research Physicist for University of California, Berkeley

Our ongoing coverage of preparation for the Great American Eclipse takes us to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where a huge celebration is planned. Then we hear from two members of the team that wants you to do eclipse science in the Eclipse Megamovie Project. Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla is back! She was at JPL when Cassini began the final phase of its Saturn journey. How many confirmed planets are there in our galaxy? Bruce Betts will answer that question and offer another space trivia quiz in What’s Up.

Astronomer and artist Tyler Nordgren’s poster for SIU Carbondale’s Eclipse Celebration
Astronomer and artist Tyler Nordgren’s poster for SIU Carbondale’s Eclipse Celebration Image: Tyler Nordgren / SIU Carbondale
SIU Carbondale aerial image
SIU Carbondale aerial image Image: SIU Carbondale
2010 Total Solar Eclipse
2010 Total Solar Eclipse Only a few privileged people were able to see the total solar eclipse on July 11, 2010 as it made landfall only in the Cook Islands, Easter Island, and the southernmost tip of Chile.Image: Copyright (c) Alain Maury and Jean-Luc Dauvergne

This week's question:

What are the names of the two Astrobots on the surface of Mars? You’ll find them on the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, May 10th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What letter is used to classify the most powerful class of solar flares, as observed from near Earth in X-rays? (Using the most popular system now in use.)


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

Within 100 or so, how many CONFIRMED exoplanets have been discovered?


As of April 21st, NASA acknowledged discovery of 3,475 confirmed exoplanets. Some sources put the number even higher.