August 7, 2017

Are you planning to watch the solar eclipse?

Are you taking into account the chances of cloud cover?

How far are you willing to travel to get to the total eclipse zone? The more trouble you're going to, the more you might care about whether you're going to end up where the sun is obscured by clouds.

Are you worrying about traffic? If you're headed for an area where there's going to be traffic heading into the total eclipse zone, are you considering how much worse it will be if at the last minute, people are scrambling to get out from under clouds?

Are you buying special glasses and, if so, are you seeing all the warnings about fake solar eclipse glasses?

107 comments:

Bad Lieutenant said...

Assuming I can't or won't go a foot out of my way to see this, will it be at least somewhat visible everywhere? Say, in New York or Wisconsin?

David Begley said...

This is turning out to be a big thing in Nebraska. Speculation that people will pull over on Interstate 80 to watch. More speculation of a tourist rush.

I will probably be in Syracuse. I would prefer to watch in Mullen or at Carhenge but too far to drive for minutes of wonder.

richlb said...

I was just talking to someone about the possibility that crappy solar glasses might actually cause people to go blind. I was on Amazon and noticed a lot of 2 and 3 star reviewed products. I think glasses that protect your eyes are something you want 5 stars on.

Big Mike said...

Here in the western end of Virginia I'll see an 85% eclipse from my back deck. And I bought my solar eclipse glasses through the Althouse portal. (A little thanks would be appreciated ;-)

The Bergall said...

Ticketmaster has a sale so I've heard............

Birkel said...

Walk to the front yard seems the correct answer.
Also accepted is walk to the sidewalk/parking lot outside work.

For extra credit, but a wooden barrel and dunk yourself in water to avoid evil.
Or is that Halley's Comet?

etbass said...

Is it a bit like going to the Kentucky Derby that lasts what, a couple minutes?

D. B. Light said...

Met a NASA administrator the other day. She immediately assumed that I was excited about the eclipse. I wasn't, but didn't have the heart to tell her so. It was an uncomfortable few minutes.

MikeD said...

Where's the Amazon portal to buy? Here's mine:https://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=solar+eclipse+glasses+&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Asolar+eclipse+glasses+

Fabi said...

Watch it, hell -- I'm gonna stare right at it!

tastid212 said...

i'll be in Chucktown on the back porch with a moon pie in one hand and a tequila sunrise in the other. à votre santé!

Marc Puckett said...

Eugene is less than an hour south of the path of totality.

People are talking about traffic being stopped on I-5 here because of the eclipse watchers up north.

My workplace won't open until one p.m. on the day-- I had thought this was because the boss suspected that nobody would be out and about until after the eclipse but find out today that his church has some eclipse-watching event planned.

Once is enough for me (Mexico, 1998?).

sane_voter said...

I will be in Alliance NE for the eclipse (if all the logistics hold). Saw the eclipse in 1991, and hopefully this one will be as good!

Lem said...

Solar Eclipse: the final frontier. These are the voyages...

Unknown said...

I'm surprised that a NASA administrator is interested in an eclipse.

Crimso said...

I'm thinking somewhere between McMinnville and Sparta, TN. 30 min drive. At work they will get about 1 min of totality. Physics/Astronomy Dept. is having a viewing party on campus. The exact cutoff line for totality will vary slightly due to lunar landscape, so they could easily get <1 min.

I'd be a bit more concerned about weather if I was traveling a great distance, or I was making scientific observations. Still, will check the forecast and radar that morning for various towns in the area to try to catch a clear sky. Interesting how close we are to the centennial of Eddington's observations in 1919.

"[E]verything under the sun is in tune but the sun is eclipsed by the moon."

Unknown said...

For Bad LT

https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/context/

Earnest Prole said...

The total eclipse requires no safety glasses whatsoever to view it, and in fact if you do wear safety glasses you'll see nothing.

The partial eclipse that precedes and follows the total eclipse does require glasses, but if you've seen one you'll know it's almost not worth it. Instead, dump the glasses and watch the shadow of the moon move across the ground as the eclipse approaches.

Mark Nielsen said...


Different clear-sky probability calculation, courtesy of my university: http://www.uidaho.edu/cnr/departments/natural-resources-and-society/solareclipse


rcocean said...

I'll watch it on Youtube. Won't cost me nothin'.

Michael K said...

We were going to visit my stepson and his family in McMinnville OR like we did last summer but the hotels are sold out into September.

I don't care about the eclipse but the area will be a zoo.

T J Sawyer said...

Headed for rural Nebraska. Available rooms in southern Iowa were disappearing a month ago. Got green goggles from Amazon and less color inducing shades at Walmart. Will make a four day trip of it to feed my neglected travel blog. Amazon glasses via your link, of course.

EDH said...

How far are you willing to travel to get to the total eclipse zone?

No matter where we go in the US, haven't we already been relegated to the penumbra?

CWJ said...

Backyard, no traffic, got our glasses today at Hyvee, 1 and a half minutes of totality. Clouds will be clouds.

Big Mike said...

I've looked at clouds from both sides now ...

sane_voter said...

EDH

http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/path_through_the_US.htm

exhelodrvr1 said...

Walking all the way out to our deck

David53 said...

Traveling from San Antonio to my brother's house near Hartsville, TN. His house is right on the center line. Rental car prices in Nashville are crazy so he will pick me up at the airport the day before. He lives in the boonies so it should be pretty cool.

traditionalguy said...

Bah. Humbug. The only reason to watch a solar eclipse is to see how banal they are. It dims and then it brightens up again. That's all folks.

MayBee said...

Why would you not just watch through your phone camera?

mockturtle said...

I wouldn't except that my former SIL and nephew have chosen that day on the Oregon coast, where my late brother lived and died, to ceremoniously toss his ashes into the sea. I dread the crowds and traffic.

whiskey said...

This is a very anxiety inducing post, Althouse. I'm going to go hide under my bed now worrying about all the things I didn't think to worry about.

MayBee said...

I'm going to see whatever I can see from wherever I am at the time.

People driving en masse to see an eclipse has a very armageddon movie feel to me. Everyone's going to get stuck on the highway just as the sky goes dark. I don't know, I just think Marky Mark will be involved in this somehow.

wild chicken said...

We'll get a pretty good partial un Missoula. Wasnt planning on looking at it though it should be clear this time.Last time 1977 I think it was cloudy, but just the sudden darkness was pretty awesome.

robinintn said...

One of the office busybodies was yammering on today about how our department should go to a local park and watch the eclipse as a team-building exercise. She wouldn't shut up until someone finally muttered good idea. Ugh. I may have to schedule time off if the manager can't grow a spine.

David Begley said...

Sane voter: Carhenge?

robinintn said...

MayBee - "Marky Mark will be involved" Ha!

tcrosse said...

Here in Vegas we plan to dance around and make a lot of noise until the sun reappears.

john said...

You're so vain.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

As we're in Salem, OR, right in the middle of the path, it'll be full totality for 2 1/2 minutes or so. And if the weather goes on as it's been going on, it won't (crosses fingers) be overcast.

Thankfully, no one here needs to go anywhere that day, because I-5 is going to be a royal mess.

I bought eclipse glasses from Amazon -- highly rated, though honestly I don't know how often customers get the chance to test such things, and I imagine the blinded ones have difficulty leaving comments on Amazon.

ngtrains said...

Hope it goes well for all.l

bad scheduling - we'll be in Germany.

Big Mike said...

I understand that the Madison Satanist congregation was planning to sacrifice a virgin at the height of the eclipse. But they couldn't find one anywhere on the UW-Mad campus.



(The old jokes are still the best!)

MountainMan said...

I will be at my second home in GA for the birth of a granddaughter that weekend but we're not too far off the path and will have 98% coverage. If I could stay at my home in TN I would have to drive just a short piece down the road ratio be right on the centerline. New granddaughter is more important.

MadisonMan said...

Carhenge, in Alliance Nebraska. In the path of totality.

I won't be traveling. I'll watch in on satellite imagery.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I'm a conservative so I don't believe that eclipses exist. It's all fake news and a scientific hoax. Totally exposed.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I remember, btw, Stephen Jay Gould writing about the eclipse in NYC (how long ago? Was that the late-70s one?) and loads of people discovering pinhole cameras. A tattered rooftop over a shopfront made lots of opportunities to look. Others made their own cameras obscura.

Whenever it was, I missed that one. I won't miss this one (cloud cover permitting).

john said...

For everyone thinking that 90%, 95%, 98%, is just like being right under the thing, you are fooling yourselves. Either 100% or stay home.

You can tell me I was right on August 22.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

If you travel to the path of totality then you're really just hiding the decline of the non-totality. If an eclipse is partial or not happening on one part of the earth then no part of the earth can be experiencing it.

The bible explains all this stuff much better. Just because there's consensus on the issue doesn't mean it's true.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

For a 99% partial eclipse the 1% still visible is enough to prevent the really cool effects witnessed during a total eclipse.

The government must do more for the 1%.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

www.space.com has a tab on the eclipse that includes links to a number of ISO-certified protective eyewear.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Oh, Lord, TTR. Leave it out.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...

I'll DVR it and watch it in the morning. I suspect the Weather Channel will have the best video.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yes, heading to the coast of SC, took a couple of days off.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

It's real science because you can see it. The eyes are what make it real.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Warren Buffet called, he likes hoarding billions, tax avoidance, and supporting Hillary.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

If you miss it there will be another one seven years from now in 2024 but that's according to astronomers so what do they know anyway. NASA and NOAA need to be cut pronto before anything is done to hurt our economy.

richlb said...

One more thing - If you miss this/avoid this there is another one over the US in 2024 that travels in a South to North direction. I think it passes about the same distance from my home, but is easier to get to.

john said...

Not to worry, there will be another one next semester. Somewhere.

A semester is 177 days, 4 hours.

gspencer said...

Since the USSC introduced penumbras to the essence-of-life issues (in the 1960s), such that we now have abortion on demand for any reason or for no reason, I'll continue to stay in the penumbras.

Michael K said...

Leave it to Ritmo to fuck up a wet dream,

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I can't believe I've not even seen a partial before given how common they are so I'll take what I can with the 80% blocked out this time. But by 2024 I'm wondering if going to Niagara would be a good place to watch it in totality.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I don't care about the eclipse...

Your moon has already blocked out many another person's sun.

john said...

Dr. James Damore,PhD, will finally have time to witness totality on August 21, being he has no job. Something I am sure he was looking forward to. And Google now has increased its diversity by 1/72,053, or 1.387867E-5. One small step, but something it is also looking forward to.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Toothless Revolutionary said...

The cool thing is the different transit patterns seen from when it exits as opposed to when it enters the path.

chuck said...

Thinking about it, Rexburg Idaho is about three hours north of here and the eclipse will at ~11:30 AM, so could even leave early in the morning if I don't want to worry about accommodations.

Sharc said...

Driving about 4 hours to the totality path, with spouse and parents in tow. Had hotel rooms reserved a year ago in nearest town. Bought our Amazon glasses, so here's hoping. We'll be at the geographically closest spot on a perpendicular to where we live, so basically the middle of nowhere on the TN-KY border. It's an adventure, whatever happens!

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

It would be an ideal time for Kim Jong-un to detonate a nuclear warhead on the moon, if he were able to get one up there. Imagine the spectacle and the message it would send!

Trump would probably be impressed.

320Busdriver said...

I did not win a spot to be on the eclipse flight my company is conducting. Mainly astronomers and the like will fly around and through the NW as it makes its way into North America. Guaranteed to be above any cloud cover. If you want to see what it looks like from the air here's the link from last years flight.
Just be sure to turn the volume off to avoid mr. annoying guys' comments.

jack hoysted said...

I think i'll fly the lear jet up to Nova Scotia

Archilochus said...

On that Monday afternoon I'll be working, faithful, BigLaw serf that I am. Splendors of the heavenlies are the privileges of my lords/partners.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Joe Pesci makes a pretty crap Alaska airplane-bound eclipse videographer.

Or maybe it was Bruno Kirby. They always sound alike.

The Godfather said...

In 1962 I watched a total solar eclipse from the top of Mt. Desert (pron. “dessert”) near Bar Harbor, ME. I’ve never forgotten it. The eclipse happened, as I recall, in mid-afternoon, and my friends and I got up to the top of the mountain very early to get a good spot. As the time got closer, we saw fog moving in from the sea into the narrows below. If the fog climbed up the mountain before the eclipse arrived, it would block our view of the eclipse. (The year before, my father had taken me and some friends to the North Shore of Massachusetts to see an eclipse, but there were dense clouds and we didn’t see a thing.) As the fog built up below, we looked off to the west and saw the shadow of the moon rushing toward us over the evergreen forests at 1,000 mph. Then suddenly we were in the total eclipse. The land turned dark. Birds that come out at twilight woke up and started to sing. Instead of a great blazing ball in the sky, the sun was a black disc surrounded by fire. We only glanced at it with our naked eyes, but we could stare at it through welder’s glass. I had a telescope with the proper equipment to see it and photograph it. Then the moon’s shadow passed on to the east and the fog swept up the mountain, and it was over.

After 55 years, I still remember that experience. I’ve seen the elephant, so I won’t drive the 75 miles or so to the path of totality for this new eclipse. But if you have a chance to see an eclipse of the sun for the first time, and you are planning to skip it because you’re just too blasé and sophisticated to be bothered, please, think again. What else are you going to do that day that you’ll remember 55 years later?

Bad Lieutenant said...

john said...
Dr. James Damore,PhD, will finally have time to witness totality on August 21, being he has no job. Something I am sure he was looking forward to. And Google now has increased its diversity by 1/72,053, or 1.387867E-5. One small step, but something it is also looking forward to.
8/7/17, 9:24 PM

The guy who wrote the heterodox ten pager at Google got canned? Sell sell sell.

320Busdriver said...

"Joe Pesci makes a pretty crap Alaska airplane-bound eclipse videographer"

"Streamers, prominences, and diamond rings", oh my

Don't say I didn't warn ya...

readering said...

What folks should be doing is camping out in a desert (not in the middle of summer, though). You forget just how much is going on in the night sky when you live in the middle of civilization.

wildswan said...

My sister asked me if I was going to see the eclipse and then remarked "because you can't, all the rooms in Nebraska have been booked up for two months." But I may go south and stop on a side road in Nebraska and then drive north out of the room-eclipse zone afterward. I've never seen gridlock in Nebraska but perhaps I'll see that out on the Dissected Till Plain plus totality. Then, return by way of the Driftless Area, crossing the Father of the Waters near the site of the Bad Axe Massacre. I can see the eclipse is passing right over the site of the New Madrid earthquake and I just hope the sun, by going away in daylight, doesn't annoy it somehow and stir it up again.

Maybe I'll stay home and read about it.

Robin Eatmon said...

Will be watching from a back road spot between Santee and McClellanville, SC.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Total eclipse of god's balls.

Ann Althouse said...

You don't need a hotel room, just a car.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, you and Meade need a room.

Will Cate said...

It is passing directly over me (Clemson, SC), so, yes.

Mary Beth said...

richlb said...

One more thing - If you miss this/avoid this there is another one over the US in 2024 that travels in a South to North direction. I think it passes about the same distance from my home, but is easier to get to.

8/7/17, 9:16 PM


I tell people about the 2024 eclipse to explain why I say, "I hope not" when they say this coming eclipse is a "once in a lifetime event".

Bob Ellison said...

Godfather, great story.

JAORE said...

Our plan was to ride motorcycles to North Georgia, stay at a motorcycle oriented lodge and spend the day at a friend's vineyard. But one of our group got a dislocated shoulder in Pamplona at the Running of the Bulls.

So now we're taking a van.


JohnG said...

I'm going to Madras, OR (about 600mi away from where I live). I also have a backup location in Lincoln City, OR if there's a forest fire or other disaster East of the Cascades.

Captain Curt said...

Flying to KC to see some old friends and (hopefully) the total eclipse as well. 30 straight years of clear skies there on 8/21, I'm told. The friends will make it worthwhile even if it's cloudy.

We plan to leave KC very early in the morning to get north enough to be in the path of totality.

Yancey Ward said...

I have seem numerous partial eclipses that maxed out at 80-90%, so I don't actually plan to even look up until it hits totality. I plan on monitoring the process with a pinhole box. My main worry is the cloud cover- I don't intend to travel more than the 20 miles to my sister's home in Lenoir City, TN. If the day is cloudy, it will be unfortunate. In this part of the country, the average August early afternoon is party cloudy.

With a good pair of sunglasses, you can glance up occasionally if you like, just don't do it for more than a couple of seconds.

Also, remember there is another one in 2024 that cuts up through the center of the country, so if you miss this one, you get another chance assuming you don't die before then.

Yancey Ward said...

Incidentally, August 21st 2017 has been on my internal calender for 38 years. I was in the seventh grade when the last total eclipse was visible from the lower 48, and the news programs made a big deal about that one because there wouldn't be another one in the US mainland for an unusually long 38 years. That eclipse was the first partial one I had ever seen. The two best partial eclipses I have seen were in 1984 and 1994 which were annular eclipses- where I was at the time, the max coverage was about 80% in both. I have been waiting for this one for a long time.

Yancey Ward said...

And if you live long enough, Saros Series 136 produces a total eclipse on a similar path to the one later this month on August 12th 2045- that one will give totality for nearly 6 minutes from the Mississippi until it crosses out into the Atlantic. I would be 79 if I make it to that one.

Clark said...

We will watch it in Rexburg Idaho, God willing and the Creek don't rise.

Darrell said...

I'll just look at naked women on the internet.

CStanley said...

We're close to the path, no totality but I plan to watch and might pick the kids up early from school so we can watch together. Glasses...yes...I remember that eclipse in the 70s when I was a kid and we had to do the shoebox pinhole camera, which I thought was the stupidest think ever. I'd rather just watch a video of it than see that. I might even spring for a telescope but need to find one that's not overly expensive but decent quality and not just for solar viewing. Does anyone have recommendations?

Robert Rogers said...

We planned a weekend in Nashville long ago. That way, if Monday turns out to be a bust because of clouds, it will be worth the trip. I'm definitely concerned about traffic. Out plan is to leave Nashville on Monday morning and head east to where the path of totality intersects rt.40. I figure a million people invading a town of 1,000. Plan to have plenty of gas, food, and water in the car. Pack something to pee into. Be patient.

dreams said...

It's projected to be about a 97% total eclipse here in Hardin County, KY, I'll just read about it.

dreams said...

The 10 best cities to watch.

"Want to see the solar eclipse? Head to these 10 cities for best views"

• Casper, Wyoming

• Sandhill’s of Western Nebraska

• St. Joseph, Missouri

• Carbondale, Illinois

• Hopkinsville, Kentucky

• Nashville, Tennessee

• Great Smoky Mountains

• Columbia, South Carolina

janetrae said...

1. Yes, I am planning to see the eclipse. I bought tickets to Saluki stadium at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois to sit on the football field (we are invited to bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs to hang out). I live in Chicago so this is a 6.5 hour drive for me. I also bought a ticket to park at the stadium.
2. I (FINALLY) found a motel in Effingham, Illinois (about 2 hours north of Carbondale) and plan to stay there Sunday night. I also plan to get up at 3:30 am and be at the parking lot by 6 am (when it opens). I HOPE in this fashion to avoid the worst of the crowds going down. I reckon to arrive home around midnight on Monday/Tuesday after the eclipse. My car will be stocked with water, power bars, fruit, and something to pee in (although I understand the stadium will have facilities). I plan to gas up in Chicago, in Effingham, and in Carbondale, and going north in Effingham again.
3. I purchased on Amazon both eclipse glasses and a hand-held blue glass solar viewer (both from Japan). They are not flimsy fakes.
4. I am worried about cloud cover, but such are the breaks in life. If I can make it to 2024, I can go back to Cardondale and try again (they are already selling tickets).

janetrae said...

Oh, and I recently finished David Baron's American Eclipse -- very interesting book about late 19th century event. They were worried about cloud cover, weather, and a host of other things that cropped up. My friend (an umbraphile) has chased eclipses -- this will be her 11th total eclipse -- and only once been shut out (and even then there was about a 4 second glimpse of totality). I am totally jazzed!

MadisonMan said...

You don't need a hotel room, just a car.

If ever a sunroof was needed!

iowan2 said...

I'm heading to rural southeast Nebraska. Got a hotel in Omaha last week, about 90 minutes to the full eclipse path. Hoping the rural, miles from interstate, isolation will minimize traffic. I'm willing to take off on miles of gravel roads for even more isolation. Clouds is life, they wont ruin our outing, we will make the most of out time together.

Christy said...

Knox County Schools are out the day of the eclipse and I know of at least one school providing eclipse glasses to all the kids. I'll be driving a half hour to my cousin's house on an open hill to watch.

cf said...

I am in the portland ore area, so only 45 minute drive to the center of Totality. My friends here are all lifelong oregonians, and they saw totality back when they were kids and I agreed with them on the notion that our view of 97% without leaving our backyards would be excellent ... until Npr did a bit on the exceptional nature of the direct experience of Totality, and realized I should try for it after all. (How many of us poor saps did they rope in that day?)

Am scoping out the farm roads this next week, have a spot between Silverton and Molalla in mind, staying away from I-5, in case all of Seattle decides they need to drive down.

Figured on driving out there around 4 am with all necessities, including cash and beer in case a farmer is ornery a out the commotion.

Direct Experience, there is nothing like it, and So! Close!

I will have to make the attempt.

Rusty said...

I'm gonna set a GoPro for time lapse and put a welding helmet over it. An 11 shade I think.

Jim at said...

"I'm a conservative so I don't believe that eclipses exist. It's all fake news and a scientific hoax. Totally exposed."

Yawn.

There have been total eclipses projected onto the Earth for 4.6 billion years.

Coincidentally, that's the same number of years the Earth's climate has been changing.

MathMom said...

sane_voter -

Are you going to view the eclipse from Carhenge just north of Alliance? I think that would be the perfect place.

EMyrt said...

Went to Kona in '91. It's always clear in Kona, right?
Haha, it clouded up minutes before totality.
Bummer. But watching the porpoises breach at totality was way cool.
And the planetary lineup the next evening at sunset (Mercury, Venus, Mars and New Moon) was cool too.