Sonja Alexander Headquarters, Washington, DC June 20, 2001 (Phone: 202/358-1761) Dolores Beasley Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone

: 202/358-1753) RELEASE: 01-125a NASA AND THE SAN FRANCISCO EXPLORATORIUM SHOW FIRST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM Our Sun is about to take a break for the summer, albeit a brief repose noticeable only by people in Southern and Central Africa. However, while the first total eclipse of the new millennium will not be visible from the United States, it will be made available live from Zambia, Southern Africa, to the rest of the world from NASA Television and internet users who have high-speed connections. The eclipse viewing is made possible by the San Francisco Exploratorium, with support from NASA, and is officially endorsed by the National Society of Black Physicists. Watching a total eclipse means different things to different people. Daylight fades in the middle of the day as the Moon slowly covers the face of the Sun, creating an eerie dusk as a shadow is cast on the Earth's surface. Our ancient ancestors considered an eclipse to be a bad omen, and often carried out various rituals in an effort to scare away suspected evil forces that devoured the Sun. Today, scientists travel around the world to study this rare event and millions of people are satisfied to simply watch this celestial display of nature. A science team from the Exploratorium will be in Zambia to capture video images of the eclipse using specially equipped telescopes. Besides being streamed live to the rest of the world, these images will be broadcast to about 110 participating museums and other venues.

A message from the Expedition Two crew on board International Space Station is part of the webcast, which includes a conversation with American astronauts Jim Voss, Susan Helms and Russian Commander Yury Usachev. NASA also will take viewers one million miles into space to see how scientists use artificially generated eclipses to study enormous solar eruptions. Scientific teams going to Africa for the eclipse will rely on the ESA-NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft to show them the Sun's weather during the event. Several NASA centers plan events associated and some of its Centers are planning comprehensive solar eclipse events: * Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD - Dr. Paal Brekke, European Space Agency, will present a multimedia summary from SOHO's observations in the Albert Einstein Planetarium at Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC, from 12:20 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. EDT. More information is available on the Internet at: * Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, CA - Students from the Los Angeles area can watch the webcast, look through solar telescopes and hear African-American Scientists and members of the National Society of Black Physicists discuss how the Sun effects the Earth and how minority students can get more involved in science. For additional internet information, go to: * Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL - Reporters and other media representatives are invited to interview NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams, who will be in Zambia to witness the eclipse. Telephone interviews are available by contacting Steve Roy at 256/544-6535. More information is available on the Internet at: To view the eclipse from a high-speed internet connection, visit the World Wide Web at:

A complete list of participating museums can be found on the web at: NASA TV will carry the eclipse from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. EDT. Stations carrying this feed are requested to super "Courtesy: NASA/Exploratorium." NASA TV can be found on GE-2, Transponder 9C, at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency of 3880 MHz and audio of 6.8 MHz. -end-