Solar Soothsaying

Today is the winter solstice.  It is a day that has to do with solar positioning.  It is also a day which is exactly eight months away from a total solar eclipse coming to Perry County on August 21, 2017.

I must admit that I couldn’t find one of my regular topics for our blog today.  So I wandered off into the realm of astronomy.  And I happened to run across what I consider a rather remarkable map which was made in 1887 by an Austrian astronomer by the name of Theodor von Oppolzer.


Here is an enlargement of the portion of the map that shows the United States.


That’s right!  One hundred thirty years before it will happen, Theodor von Oppolzer was mapping the August 21st total solar eclipse that is going to be visible in Perry County next year.  I find this astounding in two ways.  First, it amazes me that a mathematician and astronomer can predict the movements of astronomical objects so far in advance.  Secondly, God amazes me in designing a world that operates by such consistent rules.

Theodor von Oppolzer was born in Prague in the Czech Republic and went on to study and work in Vienna, Austria.  These are locations which are not far from where most of the immigrants who settled Perry County were from in Germany.


Now may be the time for you to plan a trip to Perry County next August.  We will have one of the optimum viewing areas available for this upcoming total solar eclipse.  You can find more information about the local efforts that are being made to make this eclipse a memorable one for visitors at this site:


Some great work is being done by our museum’s friend, Trish Erzfeld, on this project.

You can also find a very entertaining video by clicking this link:

This video even includes Mississippi River scenes from the Wittenberg area.




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