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The native sun returns

Published on August 8, 2017 2:27PM

Newport-born astronomer Travis Metcalfe will return to his hometown on Saturday, Aug. 12, to help locals prepare for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse — and have a more fulfilling experience than he did the first time.

“I vividly remember the 1979 eclipse, even though I was only five years old at the time,” Metcalfe said. “My parents locked me and my brother in the basement so we wouldn’t burn our eyes out.”

Metcalfe graduated from Newport High School in 1991 and saw his first total solar eclipse later that summer at the tip of the Baja peninsula in Mexico. He studied astronomy and physics at the University of Arizona in Tucson, followed by doctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin. He now works as a research astronomer at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

“I’ve been looking forward to the 2017 eclipse since I first learned about it in the mid-1980s,” he said. “My parents bought me a telescope for Christmas, along with an astronomy book that listed future eclipses.”

Metcalfe’s presentation will include the history and science of solar eclipses, along with practical advice about where and how to watch and what to expect. Everyone who attends will get eclipse glasses, and all proceeds support non-profit programs in astronomy research and education.

The talk will run from 3 to 5 pm at the Newport Performing Arts Center, 777 W. Olive Street.

Tickets are $10.90 for adults and $8.80 for students and seniors, and can be purchased online at http://eclipse.spsci.org.

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