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Stargazing Solar Con? Eclipse road trip to Makanda Illinois

  1. May 17, 2017 #1
    I think I may be heading to Makanda Illinois, on August 21, for the Eclipse. (Where I live in Michigan, it will only be about 80% - I want the full effect...) In all likelihood, considering my age, and how mobile I may be by the next time there is a full eclipse in the US, I have decided I don't want to miss it.

    Here are some questions for the group:

    1. Is anyone else heading to the same general vicinity? If so, is it worth considering a gathering? I'd love to meet some of you in person.

    2. What specific city/town/park/campground are you visiting? Why that one in particular?

    3. How long will you be staying there?

    4. If you plan to observe this event through some kind of apparatus, what gear do you anticipate using? Furthermore, what gear can you suggest on a tight budget, that beats a "shoe box and pinhole" projector? Special welding goggles, perhaps?

    Feel free to offer additional ideas.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2017 #2


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    We do have a thread on this, but it has fallen down and yours is tightly focused, so it is fine. Here's that thread:

    I'll let you check the thread and others can reply, but I'll be traveling to Charleston, SC for it. The reason is a group of friends and I take a trip to the beach every year(recently, Outer Banks, NC) and I hijacked it this year (date and location) for my purposes.
    Probably meant for people local to you, but I'll be at mine for a week.
    I'll be going all out, taking a couple of telescopes, but also:

    The last one, I taped over a pair of binoculars and it works great.
  4. May 18, 2017 #3
    Taped over?

    Please elaborate - I have several pairs of binoculars....
  5. May 18, 2017 #4


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    Solar Binos.jpg
  6. May 18, 2017 #5
    what material is that?...duct tape?
  7. May 18, 2017 #6


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    Across the lenses? No, it's solar filter material, from the 3rd link I posted. It's like mylar (but isn't); you just cut it to the size you need and use electrical tape to attach it to the front of the binos.
  8. May 18, 2017 #7
    in my amazon cart - thanks
  9. May 19, 2017 #8
    I'm in southern wisconsin. I'm planning on take my kid to southern Ill. for the event. I even have a small telescope I was thinking of bringing. I'm also thinking of using welding glass with a pair of binoculars.
  10. May 19, 2017 #9
    I'm from Milwaukee. Going to drive to Kansas City, Mo, then on to Denver, Vegas and points west. if points west are still with us. (The "earthquakes happen during eclipses" thing)
  11. Jun 21, 2017 #10
    There doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in a gathering of folks from Physics Forums, in Makanda, but I figure as the time nears, I will "bump" this thread a couple of times, for those who come to the forums later, but do not read back through every thread they may have missed.

    @hsdrop , where in Southern Ill.?
  12. Jun 21, 2017 #11
    Carbondale,ill or some place that is within a 50 mile east or west of their
    I'm also thinking of camping out either the night before or the night after...but probably the night befor.
    That will give me time to set thing up and not have to rush driving down the day of.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  13. Jun 21, 2017 #12
    lol now looking at the map Makanda, Illinois would fit within the milage lol
  14. Jun 21, 2017 #13


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    I live right on the central path of the eclipse, but, am only revealing the location to lovely damsels [in distress], it's a matter of honor, chivalry and whatever thing.
  15. Jun 22, 2017 #14
    I have been considering going back to the Carbondale area from here in California, but it would be a real bummer to get there and have the weather be cloudy. I was raised in a small town in the area named Crainville until I was 15. My last name is Crain and yes there is a connection. Could see some old friends and maybe enjoy a unique life-time experience together.
    My other possibility is to fly my light plane (small 1946 model) up to Oregon where I have found a great looking airport right in the middle of the track as it comes onshore. Suspect weather would be even more iffy there because of being so close to the coast. All comes down to luck I guess.
  16. Jun 22, 2017 #15


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    The optical quality of welding glass is similar to window glass. It wasn't meant for a magnified image. So your image will distort, similar to looking through a window with binoculars. The silver or black solar film will give a much better image.
  17. Jun 26, 2017 #16
    I am currently looking at the rest stop on M-57, just north of 146. This is very near Makanda, but not actually IN Makanda, where we might have difficulty finding an appropriate, and inexpensive location to gather. At the moment, it is not clear to me which side of the highway this rest stop is on - North bound or South bound, but at least this way, we do not have to rent a campground, or pay a park admission fee, and the location should be very easy for everyone to find. Also, I can't see authorities having a problem with us "resting" there for 4 or 5 hours, since that is the purpose of the facility.

    On the other hand, if we had enough interest, and lead time, a campground or state park might be a better option. Since I don't have any definite answers, yet, however, I can't justify a more formal setting.

    Other feedback and suggestions are welcome.

    Google maps satellite view indicates a rest area on both sides of the highway.
    However, the one on the North bound side (East/right side of the road in this picture) looks like it has better open areas, for setting up telescopes.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  18. Jun 27, 2017 #17
    You know, I have had the hole "paying for setting up in a park" thing in mind too. So I was looking for a spot that was free to set up and has a large open area as well. I found a small cemetery just outside of Makanda on Baptist Hill Road. With a big open area to set up telescopes and it only a few 100 feet away from the center line for the eclipse.
    I have a small 4 1/2 telescope and I'm very much a beginner with it. I'm learning and would like to meet up with a small group that has more experience so me and my son can enjoy the event better.
    Have a look guys and let me know what you'll think
    2017 Eclipse
  19. Jun 27, 2017 #18
    There is also a nice little park right in side Makanda. That would be a good spot with lots of parking and a merry-go-round. lol
    I just called the Eclipse Kitchen in Makanda and asked if there was going to be anything going on in town at the park. The kitchen told me that there was nothing happening for the event in town so the park is open :partytime:
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  20. Jun 27, 2017 #19
    I'm not sure, but I was under the impression that graveyards are "technically" private property. If that's true, they might not like us setting up for several hours or longer, even in the area with no headstones. My bigger concern is where we would park, if there were more than a few cars. However, I do like your "out of the box" thinking.

    The park sounds like a great idea, as long as your contact in the kitchen is correct. In fact, it would be a lot better than all previous ideas, IMO.

    But.... Googling the words "eclipse makanda" brought up over 73,000 results, so clearly SOMEONE has plans in the tiny village of Makanda for the eclipse.... Even the CBSNews website mentions Makanda, specifically. Here's the first handful of relevant listings from the search:


    Now, having said that, I am NOT saying that the park is a bad idea - especially if we have a vanguard who can arrive earlier than folks like me, that have an 8-hour trip to get there. If we know that there will be a place for us, when we arrive, despite the publicity, I think a park setting would be far, far superior to sitting at a rest stop, alongside the freeway.

    Would you be willing to set up at say 11am local time, to ensure that we have room?

    Also, the park map doesn't seem to give an indication of what the park borders are. Do you have any idea how much parking is available there, or how many acres the park covers? I'm just trying to get some idea of how big the park is, since we have a couple of parks near me that are no bigger than a city building lot that you would build a house, or small strip mall on. My concern, of course, is competition for the real estate. Truth be told, we have that same concern at the rest stop, as well.

    I suppose the worst case scenario is that we end up driving around looking for an open area somewhere. That's not a terrible thing, even if it would be inconvenient.

    Keep those ideas coming!
  21. Jun 27, 2017 #20
    Ok, I'm going to drive down the day before stay the night camping in the woods. Then head out the afternoon next day after the eclipse happens. I like the idea of the little park right in the middle of the Makanda. looks like a lot of parking on either side of the street by the park and the train track. I can also get there in the a.m. just to hang out there at the pavilion and maybe grill a little as well. Just to hold space for whomever is going to be their. There is also a paved basketball court to set up on as well.
    I also would like to come up with a backup plan just in case something stupid happens
    On top of all that pray to the gods that we will have clear skies

    If we all get lucky we'll get to be on the news
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