Would you travel a 1000 miles for a two minute event and wait two years for a chance to be part of it? I’m already making plans for this opportunity of a lifetime.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, the 2017 Solar Eclipse will produce up to 2m40s of totality across the nation; it won’t last very long, but if you manage to be at the right place at the right time, these two minutes will make a big impact on you.
It will be quiet and birds stop singing; you may feel a chill in the air as temperatures can drop 10°F.
As the light dims, shadows appear and at full totality, your surroundings are filled with darkness.
Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse and most of us live close enough to be able to see the total solar eclipse, as its path of totality stretches from Oregon’s coast to South Carolina’s seashore.
That leads us to the best location(s) to view the event. The longest totality happens in Hopkinsville KY, but that’s barely a reason to have to deal with the very likely crowds that will appear there. Many places, such as Jackson Hole, WY are planning lot of activities in the days prior to the big event or you could be the first to see it on a beach in Oregon.
My ultimate viewing area would be a place of solitude, away from the crowds, where nature’s beauty complements this unique experience. Places like the majestic Grand Tetons in Wyoming or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park NC feature imposing backgrounds for the occasion. Perhaps on a backcountry campsite with a few friends.
The location should have a minimum chance of clouds; this excludes areas like the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, where rising air promotes cloud forming. That leaves the local weather: storms, rain or other inclement weather cannot be predicted that long in advance, but good preparation and an accurate weather prediction a few days before the event, will allow you to move to a secondary viewpoint, a few 100 miles away.
So, where will you be on August 21, 2017?
- During a solar eclipse the Sun, the Moon and Earth lineup. When the Moon aligns between the Sun and the Earth, it casts a narrow shadow on our planet.
- Totality lasts a maximum of 2 minutes and 40 seconds at Hopkinsville KY.
- The previous eclipse in the US happened on February 26, 1979.
- The next total solar eclipse in the US occurs on April 8, 2024.
- A partial eclipse can be seen everywhere in the continental US.
Be careful and use appropriate eye protection during this event; you CANNOT look at the sun without protection, except for a very short period during totality. Don’t take any risk, if you’re not sure.