On August 21, 2017 Miami was witness to 80% solar eclipse. The AstroScience center planned for several hundred people. We organized a 20-minute talk by Dr. Webb on Historical Solar eclipses, then the live music would begin with Dr. Webb and Scott Emmons playing some tunes from Pink Floyd. The last song would be "Eclipse" which would then be followed by the handing out of eclipse glasses and viewing of the eclipse from the rooftop or the ground around the observatory. Scott Emmons is one of the premier guitarists in South Florida and it was going to be spectacular!
The preceding week was filled with TV and radio interviews. Dr. Webb was interviewed by every major network and was part of two live streaming interviews, one of which featured a love performance of his music. The publicity and expectations grew as a result of the media frenzy. It seemed all of a sudden that our supply of 100 eclipse glasses may not be sufficient.
When the morning of the 21st rolled around, it was clear that all plans were off. A line of people snaking around adjacent buildings out to the parking garage at 11:00 told the story. This was going to be the biggest event we had ever seen! The watch party was scheduled to start at 12:00 noon, with first contact of the eclipse at 1:27. We quickly realized that the one police officer we had assigned was not going to be sufficient to control the over 1000 people awaiting entry into the AstroScience center lab room which held 60 at most. Dr. Webb ended up giving 6 talks to about 80 at a time, live interviews between the talks, and the music came as sort of an afterthought. To the rescue came emergency management and about a half dozen additional police offices who kept the crowds of people calm, and allowed the distribution of the eclipse glasses and access to the roof where Solar telescopes were set up. The following is some pictures from the event. Thanks to Rocio Devine Ypg and Kathy Elder for the pictures!