TWO SOLAR ECLIPSES HEADED OUR WAY
Fredericksburg will be in the direct path of two solar eclipses - an annular eclipse on October 24, 2023 and a total eclipse on April 8, 2024. There will not be another solar eclipse, visible within the continental United States, until 2044.
NASA will livestream coverage of both eclipses from Fredericksburg. NASA's livestream of the 2017 total solar eclipse received millions of views. A University of Michigan study revealed that 215 million American adults watched that total solar eclipse either digitally or in person, eclipsing (pun intended) the 111 million viewers of that year's Super Bowl.
We know that communities that were in the path of the last total solar eclipse to pass over the US in 2017 received significant numbers of visitors to view the event, creating both opportunities and challenges for local businesses.
A group of community stakeholders, led by the City of Fredericksburg, has been meeting since 2020 to coordinate a community response. The Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce's role in this response is to assist local businesses with timely updates, planning resources and logistical support, as needed.
We have visited with our Chamber peers in many of the communities impacted by the 2017 total solar eclipse who have been very generous in sharing their lessons learned. Much of our response has been informed by their experiences that we look forward to sharing with you.
This is our first Solar Eclipse newsletter issue. We will not flood your email inbox, but believe advance planning will be an important measure in preparing your business for these unique occurrences.
Soon we will conduct a short survey to better understand your needs and how the Chamber, along with other stakeholders, can best support you. We will also host industry meetings to learn how we can best coordinate shared resources.
ANNULAR VS. TOTAL: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
An annular eclipse occurs when the sun is close enough to a node for a total eclipse to occur, but it's either too close to the Earth or the moon is too far from the Earth for the moon's disk to completely block the sun. Viewers in the umbra see the complete disk of the moon in front of the sun with a bright ring of sunlight surrounding it.
A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun, and viewers in the moon's umbra are able to see the sun's corona. It can occur only if the sun is within a few degrees of the moon's node. At the same time, the sun must be far enough away from the Earth for its disk to be small enough to be covered by the moon. The moon, for its part, must be close enough to the Earth to have a disk big enough to cover the sun.
WHAT SHOULD I BE THINKING ABOUT?
Business have many important decisions to consider in preparing for the eclipses. Many of the markets from which products and services are usually sourced, may also be impacted, creating increased demand. Transportation access will be limited near and on the date of the eclipses. Greater volumes of visitors to Fredericksburg and the region also create a reason for business owners to begin planning early.
In our next few Solar Eclipse Newsletter issues, we will explore:
Deciding Whether to be Open on Eclipse Days
Sourcing Eclipse-Related Products & Services
Best Practice in Forecasting & Pricing
Hedging Against Supply Delivery Disruption
Managing Eclipse Workforce Needs
Sharing our Community's Emergency Management Plan
If you have questions, resource suggestions or planning ideas, we welcome your feedback. Again, our role as the Fredericksburg Chamber is to support YOU! Do not hesitate to email or call Penny C. McBride.
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