Program 507: American Eclipse; Newgrange Solstice; The Hour of Land

Release Date: 12-09-2017


We hear of the true awesomeness of experiencing a total solar eclipse, from the one that swept across the American West in 1878 to the one that drew crowds to the totality's path in the US in August 2017. And we'll also learn what it's like to take part in a winter solstice ritual from inside Ireland's ancient tomb at Newgrange. Plus, author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams describes breathtaking moments in America's national parks, and why it's critical to protect them from the forces that divide Americans today.


  • David Baron, author of "American Eclipse" (Liveright)
  • Irish tour guide and innkeeper Stephen McPhilemy
  • Terry Tempest Williams, author of "The Hour of Land" (Sarah Crichton Books)

Additional Info

  • David Baron's website at American includes videos from the 2017 eclipse in Wyoming, and shows the path of the next eclipse across mid-America and the Canadian border on April 8, 2024.
  • David's book, "American Eclipse," is published by W. W. Norton. 
  • Low clouds obscured the sunrise at Newgrange on the 2016 winter solstice
  • You can apply for a chance to be invited inside the chamber for next year's Newgrange Winter Solstice by entering a lottery.
  • Stephen McPhilemy operates the Milltown House bed and breakfast on the Dingle Harbour in the Republic of Ireland. 
  • Terry Tempest Williams' accomplishments are listed on her Wikipedia entry.  Her personal website at includes links to her editorial columns and Twitter entries.  
  • Terry quotes Iroquois leader Oren Lyon, who teaches at SUNY Buffalo. 
  • You can listen to Terry Tempest Williams talk about the parks she chose to write about in "The Hour of Land" as if they were guests as a dinner party, on Travel with Rick Steves program #495. Terry's first appearance on Travel with Rick Steves was on program #325 for Mother's Day weekend in 2013.

Program Extras

More with David Baron - "American Eclipse" author and umbraphile David Baron tells Rick why witnessing a total solar eclipse is "the ultimate experience of awe." David explains how only planet Earth is capable of having a solar eclipse, and he describes some of the surreal phenomena you may see just before a solar eclipse reaches totality. (runs 3:50)