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NASA scientists to provide pre-eclipse educational programming at Niagara Power Vista


Mon, Mar 18th 2024 04:45 pm

Canadian Space Agency astronaut to visit Niagara Power Vista on April 7

The New York Power Authority will host scientists and experts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency at the Niagara Power Vista for free, pre-eclipse educational programming from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 4-7, leading up to the 2024 total solar eclipse on April 8.

“It is the Power Authority’s distinct pleasure to host NASA experts at the Niagara Power Vista to help educate visiting tourists, Western New Yorkers and their families about the solar eclipse that will be visible throughout New York state on April 8,” said NYPA Western New York Regional Manager Jairo Florez. “NYPA is collaborating with its state and federal partners to arm Western New Yorkers with information and solar eclipse glasses to best experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Janet Petro, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said, “NASA is thrilled to be in a place as magical as Niagara Falls for this awe-inspiring event. Besides being beautiful to witness, this total solar eclipse will allow scientists a rare opportunity to study the sun’s corona, expanding our knowledge of the Sun-Earth connection and its impact on our planet. I hope you’ll grab your eclipse glasses – and a few friends – and join us for some of the events we have planned to celebrate this unique occasion.”

Reservations for the NASA programming, including NASA-sponsored engineering activities on April 6-7, can be made by visiting the Power Vista’s webpage or by calling 716-286-6661. Any changes to the programming schedule will be published on the visitors center’s website.

NYPA noted the pre-eclipse programming schedule at the Niagara Power Vista is as follows:

•Thursday, April 4

√ 11 a.m.: NASA Mission Design Engineer Benjamin Asher delivers remarks. Asher’s work supports NASA’s Deep Space Logistics project. He has supported various missions throughout his career and is looking forward to supporting the Artemis missions, which will establish a regular human presence around the moon.

√ 2 p.m.: NASA Gateway Deep Logistics Studies Manager Bianca Rhym delivers remarks. Rhym is working on the NASA Gateway project, which will be an outpost orbiting the moon that provides vital support for human explorers in the lunar vicinity, as well as a staging point for deep space exploration.

•Friday, April 5

√ 11 a.m.: NASA Management and Program Analyst Hunter Goodenow delivers remarks. Goodenow has worked at the Kennedy Space Center for six years, with a career spanning two programs and multiple analyst roles.

√ 2 p.m.: NASA Launch Operations Manager Patrick Renna delivers remarks. Renna is an aerospace professional who has spent the past 16 years supporting 65 launch campaigns. He currently works at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the Europa Clipper mission, which will launch in October on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket traveling to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

•Saturday, April 6

√ 11 a.m.: NASA Launch Site Integration Engineer Josia Ruelas, who works at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, delivers remarks.

√ noon: Interactive engineering activities with a NASA youth activity coordinator.

√ 2 p.m.: NASA Mission Design Engineer Benjamin Asher delivers remarks.

•Sunday, April 7

√ 11 a.m.: NASA Program Executive, Heliophysics Division, David Cheney delivers remarks.

√ noon: Interactive engineering activities with a NASA youth activity coordinator.

√ 2 p.m.: NASA Launch Site Integration Engineer Josia Ruelas delivers remarks.

Additionally, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who is expected to circle the moon in 2025 as a mission specialist on the Artemis II flight, is scheduled to visit the Niagara Power Vista on April 7 (between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.). Hansen will become the first Canadian to leave the Earth’s orbit to fly around the moon.

The Niagara Power Vista is one of several community locations providing NASA-coordinated pre-eclipse programming. The pre-eclipse programs will conclude with a viewing event at Niagara Falls State Park, during which NASA – in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency – will provide live eclipse coverage, meet-and-greets with members of the space organizations, and host various exhibits. The event is free and open to the public.

The public can obtain free, NASA-approved solar eclipse glasses at the Niagara Power Vista after watching safety and instruction videos. The videos will play in the Niagara Power Vista classroom daily from 3-4:30 p.m. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, or by reservation.

Other community sites include Niagara Falls Public Libraries, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara Falls Culinary Institute and Niagara Falls State Park – where NASA will locate for a viewing event ending with fireworks display on Old Falls Street. For more information on the pre-eclipse and eclipse viewing at Niagara Falls State Park, visit 2024 Solar Eclipse | Niagara Falls USA and this State Parks webpage.

NYPA stated, “During the eclipse, it is especially unsafe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection and can result in serious injury. The partial phases of the solar eclipse can only be safely observed directly with specialized eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer – regular sunglasses are not a safe replacement.”

A limited quantity of I LOVE NY eclipse glasses are available at locations throughout the state, including welcome centers and select service areas along the New York State Thruway (at the Applegreen C-Stores). A full list of locations distributing I LOVE NY glasses, as well as other sources for eclipse glasses, are available here. Glasses will be limited to two pairs per person, while supplies last, with a limited amount distributed daily. The glasses were approved by the New York State Department of Health and carry an ISO certification.

Visitors at the Niagara Power Vista are encouraged to explore its array of multimedia exhibits, including hands-on interactive technologies, large touch screens, and a virtual rollercoaster relating to the production of electricity, energy efficiency and the area’s history. The location also provides unique views from the observation deck 350 feet above the Niagara River Gorge.

The Power Vista is located at 5777 Lewiston Road in Lewiston. Parking is free and will be available in the Power Vista parking lot and adjacent lots at Niagara University. The Niagara Power Vista is a stop on the Discover Niagara Shuttle’s “Falls to the Fort” route.

For more information on the festival, call 716-286-6652, email [email protected] or visit www.nypa.gov/niagarapowervista.

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