Business is booming for solar eclipse enthusiasts

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Northeast Kansas will get to experience a scientific phenomenon late August, and some are taking advantage of the rare event.

The Banner Creek Science Center and Observatory near Holton is always looking towards the heavens for astronomical scientific discoveries, but the solar eclipse will travel right through Northeast Kansas, giving them the opportunity to teach others about the universe, and make a couple extra dollars along the way.

That’s because on August 21st, northeast Kansas will go dark for just over 2 minutes.

“It’s very rare in the United States. This one is going to Criss-Cross the United States from the northwest to the southeast,” said eclipse enthusiast, Mike Ford.

Ford is a volunteer at the Observatory, but has started up a business for the rare event called

“We’re mainly doing it for safety,” said Ford.

Ford’s business sells safety glasses so those who want to watch the eclipse can do it without going blind. But they are also making the event more special by offering a day trip, to help reduce the amount of traffic predicted to be on the highways.

Ford explains, “Probably 75 north is going to be congested. 36, east/west is going to be congested. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation is saying stay off the highways.”

Mike’s group is selling tickets for anyone to take a bus to an area that will see complete darkness, feed them lunch, have an expert from NASA speak, and provide viewers everything the need to have a safe and memorable experience.

He said, “I guarantee once you see it, you’ll want to keep going to them.”

But something like this won’t cross the plains for a long time.

“It’s going to be 7 years, but you’re going to have to travel about 600 miles to see totality”, said Ford.

Ford says this is the first time that Kansas will see a total solar eclipse, and the entire state will get to see a portion of it.

To learn more about the day trip, or to get safety glasses, you can visit He says a portion of the proceeds will go to the observatory