Local News: April 3, 2024

- TCAT to buy more diesel buses due to electric bus problems -

The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) plans to buy five more diesel buses. TCAT officials say they won’t be buying any more electric buses soon. The Ithaca Voice reports electric buses haven’t performed well in Ithaca’s cold winter weather and steep hills. And the company that makes them has filed for bankruptcy. TCAT has been dealing with staff shortages, maintenance delays, and other problems that have resulted in service cuts. TCAT says the new diesel buses will improve service.

- Eclipses and science - Astronomer Tyler Nordgren -

All this week we’re highlighting some of the eclipse-related events and information. Tyler Nordgren got his Ph.D. in astronomy from Cornell. He leads solar eclipse trips all over the world. He says scientists can get information from an eclipse that they can’t get at any other time.

"It’s during that moment of totality when the sun is completely blocked that you can see the corona, the outer atmosphere. And it’s a chance to see that interaction between the corona and the surface and how energy gets from inside the sun up to the corona that’s at a temperature of over a million degrees," he said.

Nordgren said you can get more out of your eclipse experience if you think like a scientist, too.

"During an eclipse, you literally see that depth of our universe. The moon is closer to us than the sun and at totality the other planets of our solar system become visible around the sun. There is no other time at all when we see the stars, the moon, the planets, the sun all at once. We see our universe in one fell swoop," he said.

Nordgren says that view is only possible if you are in the path of totality.

"You experience an eclipse you don’t just see one, you experience one," he said.

Nordgren is spending April 8 at Fair Haven Beach State Park along the shore of Lake Ontario. He’s also an artist. A link to some of his eclipse art is here.

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