# U.S. Solar Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

I've been waiting for this for a long time and it's just a little more than a year away now. This will be the opportunity of a lifetime for people in the U.S. The 2017 solar eclipse will be visible across the width of the entire U.S! The points of Greatest Eclipse and Greatest Duration are going to occur on opposite sides of the Kentucky - Illinois border.

I plan on driving from northern Virginia to wherever has the best forecast for clear skies. Anyone else plan on driving to the total eclipse zone?

Ajay Kumar D, Nedam choice, koushik pilla and 5 others

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russ_watters
Mentor
Me. I've started doing annual vacations to the Outer Banks with a group of friends: next year, I'll be setting the destination and dates.

I'm also planning equipment upgrades to coincide with it, that I still need to work out.

Gold Member
Hi Russ. I have zero equipment other than a camera that I will need to get lenses for and, of course, viewing glasses for myself. What would you consider to be an essential equipment list and a reputable place to get them?

I also have a 8 inch Newtonian that I'm considering to take with me but it is a piece of junk except for the optics. The equipment that it's mounted to, really needs to be replaced because it won't stay in one place. However, I don't know if it would be advisable to upgrade it for this or just use a decent camera with a telephoto lens.

koushik pilla
russ_watters
Mentor
The nice thing about eclipses are that the entry barrier for observing is low. About the only thing I consider essential is eclipse glasses; 5 for $15: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00712I3JA/?tag=pfamazon01-20 A cardboard box for a pinhole projector would be good too. If you want to take pictures, you'll need a suitable camera, filter and tripod, and depending on what you have an want, there is a very wide range. I have a dslr and am looking for an excuse to buy a new telescope, so... For your Newt, if you can get the entire moon in one frame of a photo, it is probably worth using. For a regular camera with telephoto lens, it takes a surprising amount of zoom to get a decent size for a sun/moon pic. Science Advisor Gold Member Yes, the moon takes up the entire frame in my telescope. I'll have to start looking at new equipment and getting some practice then. Janus Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member This will be my second chance to view a total eclipse. The last time was in February of 1979, when the maximal point was just a few miles from my home. Unfortunately, as is typical for Oregon at that time of year, it was cloudy with no chance of seeing anything. August should provide a much better chance. I will have to travel a few miles South, but nothing unreasonable. Science Advisor Gold Member This will be my first total eclipse. I did see a partial eclipse in the early 90's in Kentucky. I got to see the cresent patterns that formed from the eclipse shining through tree branches. Even when you know that it happens, it's still very strange to see. davenn mfb Mentor Certainly worth a trip. We had a total eclipse in Germany in 1999, unfortunately clouds completely blocked the sun for about half an hour at the place where I was - guess when. Still nice to see the darkness, and at least we got some very narrow crescents before and after. Next one in Central Europe: 2081. Oops. Stavros Kiri russ_watters Mentor I missed one in 1984 entirely due to clouds. I saw about 96% of the the 1994 total eclipse -- that will never happen again, but I wasn't making the decisions at that time... davenn Science Advisor Gold Member 2019 Award My wife and I are considering getting to the USA for this eclipse ... will mainly depend on the availability of finance ( wont get any or much change out of$10,000 for that trip) and leave entitlement from work

Dave

1oldman2
tony873004
Gold Member
I saw Hawaii, 1991 and Shanghai 2009. In both cases it was raining during totality, so I never go to to see the corona. It was still worth it just to watch day turn to night. Hawaii was more like a deep dusk. Shanghai was like midnight.

I also saw annular eclipses in San Diego, 1992, Arizona, 1994, and Redding, CA, 2012. The Redding eclipse turned the sky dark enough to clearly see Venus.

I'll drive up to Oregon for the 2017 solar eclipse. With my 2 prior rain-outs, I like the idea of being mobile.

Here's a simulation I made of this eclipse. I centered it on Nashville, but you can choose your city from the dropdown menu, or provide your lat and lon.
http://orbitsimulator.com/gravitySimulatorCloud/simulations/1460438436229_2017eclipse.html

Christina Lin, 1oldman2 and davenn
davenn
Gold Member
2019 Award
I'll drive up to Oregon for the 2017 solar eclipse. With my 2 prior rain-outs, I like the idea of being mobile.
Hi Tony

I would have expected it to have a higher chance of cloud cover up in the Pacific NW than out on the plains somewhere ( east of the mountains )
The weather is usually just too unpredictable between the coast and the mountains :)
If I do get to do the trip from Australia, the PNW would be the last place I would aim for. I have friends in Missouri and the centreline
cuts nicely through that state. Yes, having mobility is definitely a good thing

Dave

mfb
Mentor
Mobility will also depend on the population density nearby. Expect massive traffic jams around the line of totality in every area with a reasonable population density. Especially after totality.

jtbell
Mentor
Anyone else plan on driving to the total eclipse zone?
Not me. I live inside it.

Stavros Kiri, Imager, sophiecentaur and 1 other person
tony873004
Gold Member
Yes, the moon takes up the entire frame in my telescope.
That's too big. You want to photograph the corona which is about 6x bigger than the Moon.
The last time was in February of 1979
I begged my parents to let me hop on a train from San Francisco to Oregon. They didn't let me. It was a deep partial from San Francisco and I made a nice 8mm movie.
Next one in Central Europe: 2081.
Southern Europe, Rock of Gibraltar Aug 2027 might be a good road trip.
I would have expected it to have a higher chance of cloud cover up in the Pacific NW than out on the plains somewhere
Oregon is a day shot from San Francisco. I'm counting on mobility and weather charts to dodge the clouds. It worked in Redding. I stopped at a rest stop on the centerline. Hundreds of people with large scopes set up were awaiting the eclipse. Then the clouds started rolling in. Why they stayed put I'll never know. Maybe too much equipment to want to move. With 45 minutes before 1st contact, I took a 30 minute drive to the next rest stop. Not a single cloud.
Expect massive traffic jams around the line of totality in every area with a reasonable population density. Especially after totality.
I don't think this will happen. It's disappointing how many people only have a passive interest. On my flight home from Shanghai, I asked the passenger next to me if he saw the eclipse. "I heard about it, but I was in a meeting." Some like me will fly across the ocean to see it, while others won't even look out the window.
Hawaii didn't have traffic jams in 1991. Redding Area didn't have traffic jams, although it was annular and I was away from population density. Most people left a few minutes after angularity ended. I stayed for the partial phases. I was only one of 2 cars left, so no traffic there. Shanghai is one continuous traffic jam, eclipse or not, so hard to tell.

davenn
Gold Member
That's too big. You want to photograph the corona which is about 6x bigger than the Moon.
I could probably get that with my camera's telephoto lens or buying a new, larger telephoto lens. I've been looking at the cost of upgrading my telescope and have gotten some serious sticker shock.

mfb
Mentor
Southern Europe, Rock of Gibraltar Aug 2027 might be a good road trip.
I know, if I'm in Europe at that time it could be interesting.
I don't think this will happen. It's disappointing how many people only have a passive interest. On my flight home from Shanghai, I asked the passenger next to me if he saw the eclipse. "I heard about it, but I was in a meeting." Some like me will fly across the ocean to see it, while others won't even look out the window.
Hawaii didn't have traffic jams in 1991. Redding Area didn't have traffic jams, although it was annular and I was away from population density. Most people left a few minutes after angularity ended. I stayed for the partial phases. I was only one of 2 cars left, so no traffic there. Shanghai is one continuous traffic jam, eclipse or not, so hard to tell.
Hawaii is a set of tiny islands.
Southern Germany was a huge network of traffic jams after the total eclipse. After about an hour with just a few kilometers of progress we decided to take some really small side roads to see the countryside. Was not much faster, but more interesting. After ~3-4 hours and 100 km of progress (air line), traffic normalized somewhat.

I don't think this will happen. It's disappointing how many people only have a passive interest. On my flight home from Shanghai, I asked the passenger next to me if he saw the eclipse. "I heard about it, but I was in a meeting." Some like me will fly across the ocean to see it, while others won't even look out the window.
Some friends of mine went to the total eclipse of 2006 in Turkey, and the local construction workers remained at their tasks for the duration of totality :)

Andy Resnick
Interesting. Like russ, I'll probably be in the Outer Banks at the time. It may occur during our drive home, in which case I'll plan the route accordingly. Thanks for the tip!

davenn
Gold Member
2019 Award
I don't think this will happen. It's disappointing how many people only have a passive interest.
don't be so sure of that

you mentioned Shanghai ... yeah fair enough

but in any western world country, it will be very different

the last eclipse I saw was the 2012 one in Cairns, Australia. They estimated more than 10,000 visitors came into the region for the display. I spoke to people from all over the world on the beach I was on.
rental cars, accommodation etc was full months before the event. Every viewing vantage point was crammed with people, telescopes and cameras

This USA one coming up isn't quite so bad as the centreline passes right across the country and there will be plenty of room to spread out

Dave

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
I saw October 1995. It was cloudy all day, with only about ten minutes of sunlight. Fortunately, it was the right ten minutes.

davenn
OmCheeto
Gold Member
I picked up a new camera in February, for a science project here at the forum.
But my choice was based mostly on the upcoming solar eclipse.
36x zoom and 16 mp.

I probably should have researched it more, as I had no idea if 36x zoom would be enough.
It appears that it will be adequate.

And I'm not sure if everyone saw the eclipse from the plane video:

But it made me want to hike to the top of Mt. Jefferson ( 44°40'48" N 121°17'56W, elevation 10,500 feet), which is only 100 miles away, and almost directly in the path.
Unfortunately, I'm running into all sorts of problems finding information on access to the mountain.
And the information I am finding, does not look promising:
1. Pamelia Lake Trailhead: 20 groups are permitted in the area each day
2. Woodpecker Trail #3442: Parking: 3-4 vehicles
3. Whitewater Trailhead: Parking: 25 vehicles​

I may just end up driving to Salem that day. It's only 50 miles away.

Stavros Kiri, Borg, tony873004 and 1 other person
jtbell
Mentor
This will be my second chance to view a total eclipse. The last time was in February of 1979
That was been the one I saw as a major partial eclipse in Michigan when I was a grad student. I must have forgotten that it was going to happen, because I remember being surprised by the "oddness" of the sunlight on a clear day when I walked out of the physics building, and then noticing the little crescents in the shadow of a tree. I later learned that it was something like 80% total, where I was.

And I'm not sure if everyone saw the eclipse from the plane video:
Without a doubt, the coolest eclipse video I have seen! Thanks.

OmCheeto
Gold Member
Without a doubt, the coolest eclipse video I have seen! Thanks.
I actually thought it was fake when I first saw it, so I snooped around.

Chasing the shadow of the moon: To intercept eclipse, Alaska Airlines adjusts flight plan to delight astronomers
...
In window seat 32F, Joe Rao was one of the dozen astronomers and veteran “eclipse chasers” among the 181 passengers onboard, gazing out oval windows as the moon blocked the sun for nearly two minutes.
He’s an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium (where astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is director). About a year ago, Rao discovered that Alaska Airlines Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu would intersect the “path of totality” – the darkest shadow of the moon as it passes over the Earth.
But the flight’s normally scheduled departure time would have been 25 minutes too early, missing the grand spectacle.
Rather than attempt to move the sun or the moon or the Earth, Rao called Alaska Airlines.
Alaska decided to move the plane.
...
“We recognize our customer’s passions,” Craig said. “Certainly we can’t change flight plans for every interest, but this was a special moment, so we thought it was worth it. Now we have a plane full of customers who will be treated to a special occurrence.”
...
Incredible customer service, IMHO.

1oldman2