Guide to Viewing the Great American Eclipse of 2017
The upcoming eclipse has been on my calendar for years, and as luck would have it, the path of totality passes only 50 miles north of Boutique Academia's office! It's the experience of a lifetime, so I have assembled a list of helpful information for eclipse watchers. Share this with friends and family who are planning to watch the eclipse. Advance preparation is key, so here goes:
- Where and when will the eclipse be? This interactive map will tell you. If you find it confusing, read the instructions.
- The weather forecast is going to be a big factor in your viewing experience. Here's just about everything you could want to know.
- There are reports of counterfeit solar glasses being sold, and some reputable manufacturers have sold out already. Luckily, you might be able to get free tested-and-approved eclipse glasses from your local library or other city organizations. Read more information here. You can look at the eclipse without glasses during totality, but be sure to put them back on immediately as soon as there is even a sliver of sun on the other side. If you don't manage to snag any solar glasses, you could still always make a pinhole projector.
- If you are curious what the eclipse will be like and what to expect, here is an in-depth explanation.
- Traveling to and from the path of totality will likely be a nightmare. In my state of Oregon, as many as a million people are expected to squeeze into the thin band of totality. It's going to be crazy. Here is an excellent resource for eclipse traffic.
- Do not count on traveling the morning of the eclipse. If possible, get to your destination the night before. Bring emergency water, food, and whatever you might need in case there is an accident on the freeway and you are stuck in traffic for hours. It might be hot, so take twice as much water as you think you need. Here is some information on how to pack a car emergency kit.
- If you REALLY want to prepare (especially if you are bringing small-bladdered children) then consider an emergency toilet. You can either use this seat on a 5 gallon bucket or get a self-contained one. In either case, use a heavy plastic bag as a liner and put a layer of kitty litter in the bottom to absorb the smell. It's not pretty, but it beats other options for a shy child (or adult) who desperately needs to go during a traffic jam on the freeway with no tree or brush cover.
- There will be twenty bazillion photos of the eclipse immediately available online, and they'll likely be better than any photos you could take. Don't waste your precious 1-2 minutes of totality fiddling with cameras and cell phones! Revel in the transcendental experience of a lifetime.
That said, the honest truth is that I'll probably still take some video of my children experiencing the eclipse and snap a quick cell phone photo through the eyepiece of our telescope with a solar filter on.
Here's a photo I took in California during the annular eclipse of 2012. It's not a great image of the eclipse, but I love it because it holds memories. I would suggest taking photos/video of people and things that are meaningful to your experience of the eclipse, and then find professional photos online later if you want a really nice image.
However, if you have your heart set on trying eclipse photography and are up for the challenge, read this article or this one about how to do it safely.
- NASA has compiled a diverse list of questions and answers... everything from eclipse time capsules to the definition of syzygy.
- If you are looking for a beautiful, meaningful keepsake, may I humbly suggest taking a look at our Solar Eclipse Necklace? It is hand-crafted, unique, gorgeous, and subtle. It will lay near the heart when worn and will be a reminder of this amazing experience for years to come. Buy it here.
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