A Missouri native and retired astronaut is joining NASA’s eclipse broadcast in Jefferson City on Monday. Dr. Janet Kavandi, Director of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, says the opportunity is a win-win.

Dr. Janet Kavandi

“I’ve never seen a total eclipse. So this will be my first experience as well. I’m really hoping for good weather so that we can actually see it. It’s really even more special since I’m getting to see it in my home state,” she says.

A total eclipse is when the moon blocks the sun, causing the sky to turn pitch black. The eclipse is expected to begin at 11:46 a.m. with the full eclipse at 1:13 p.m.

Kavandi tells Missourinet mathematicians studying orbital mechanics can determine the exact time when an eclipse will happen.

“They know the relationship between positioning of the sun, the moon and the Earth at one point in time and their models predict exactly when that will happen,” she says.

While growing up in southwest Missouri’s Cassville and Carthage, Kavandi was fascinated with astronomy. Her uncle built engines for a space shuttle at the NASA center in Huntsville, AL. She was also inspired by her high school chemistry teacher.

Kavandi attended college at Missouri Southern in Joplin and Missouri S & T in Rolla. She has been on three space shuttle missions and has logged about 33 days in space.

NASA is streaming Monday’s broadcast online. An interactive NASA exhibit will be on the south lawn of the Missouri Capitol Sunday and Monday. It will include a genuine moon rock artifact returned to Earth by the Apollo 17 crew.