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Rochester Museum & Science Center is looking for ‘eclipse ambassadors’

Close Up Of A Total Solar Eclipse
James Thew
Adobe Stock
This stock image shows a total solar eclipse. Rochester will be in the “path of totality” of such an eclipse that is to sweep across the country on April 8, 2024.

In a little more than a year from now, Rochester will be plunged into relative darkness and the temperature will plummet, as the moon slides over the sun.

The city sits in the so-called “path of totality” of the total solar eclipse that is to sweep across the country on April 8, 2024 — and the Rochester Museum & Science Center is preparing now for the celestial event.

“The goal is to prepare and excite as many people as possible within the greater Rochester region, make sure that literally everyone under the sun is a stakeholder and is prepared for the eclipse,” said Dan Schneiderman, eclipse partnership coordinator for the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

The museum is looking to accomplish this with a group of people it is calling “community eclipse ambassadors,” whose aim is to help engage the public on all things eclipse. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to apply now.

Each ambassador will receive a telescope, a solar filter, colanders for pinhole viewing — all kinds of equipment to engage with the sun when it plays hide-and-seek — plus a $1,000 stipend to run their own eclipse day event.

Ideal ambassadors, Schneiderman said, are involved in community organizations, small businesses, art collectives – anyone with their finger on the pulse of their neighborhood.

“We know the best people to talk to communities are people already in their own communities,” Schneiderman said. “There are those trusted leaders, we just want to give them the tools.”

RMSC will run its own set of eclipse programs, but Schneiderman said the center is looking to ambassadors to extend its reach.

Finding yourself in the “path of totality” — that moment during an eclipse when you’re completely immersed in the moon’s shadow — only happens once in the same location about every 375 years.

“It's a rare thing to happen in any given place,” Schneiderman said. “It's something that we can all experience together, it's a positive shared event. What was the last positive shared experience where literally everyone around you got to experience it at the exact same time?”

If history is any guide, cities and towns in the astronomical bull's-eye of the event will see an influx of tourists eager to experience the dusk-like aura of what NASA calls “the point of greatest eclipse,” whereby “the axis of the moon’s shadow passes closest to the center of the Earth.”

Those interested in participating as an ambassador can attend a virtual informational session at 10 a.m. Thursday. Sign up and learn more at

Rebecca Rafferty joined CITY as an arts reporter in 2008 and served as the arts editor from 2017 to 2021. She is currently CITY's life editor and co-producer of CITY and WXXI's art/WORK video series.