With just a few weeks remaining for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse, the excitement in both scientific circles, as well as the general public, has begun to mount. If you have not yet started planning how to see it, here are some essential tips so that your experience is not a complete flop.
See the Total Eclipse from the Centerline
If you are not on the 70-mile wide path of totality that stretches across America from Oregon to South Carolina you will end up seeing a partial solar eclipse. Those in the path of totality during Solar Eclipse 21st-Aug-2017will be in for a really spectacular show in which the moon completely hides the sun, it becomes pitch dark and the only thing that is visible is the sun’s corona that is otherwise never viewable with the naked eye.
Expect Massive Traffic Jams
With the path of totality stretching across the country, and even with no major city located in it, there are still 12 million people who will not have to leave their homes to experience the eclipse. However, with most people vying for a better view and another 25 million who live within just a day’s drive, you can expect the roads to be more than just busy. If you are going to be driving you should start out well in time, perhaps even a few days before the actual event, so that you do not get stranded on the roads.
Drop Everything to Make Your Travel Plans
According to reports, accommodation at the all the vantage points across the length and breadth of the country are already booked. However, it is still not too late in case you are prepared to go to the more remote places or even locate accommodation outside the path of totality where the pressure will be less. However, do get up very early to get to your viewing point on the centerline. Car and RV rental prices are already through the roof so if there’s a requirement, do hurry up.
Monitor the Weather Reports
Make sure you line up alternative plans in case you see the weather not cooperating and tending to ruin the experience of the lifetime. Keep checking the weather reports and the projections for at least a week in advance, and if you see that the weather may spoil the fun, try and head elsewhere for clearer skies. If you are not in a position to change plans, do not despair as often the sudden change in atmospheric conditions at the time of the eclipse clears the convective clouds. The West Coast has better prospects of clear skies than the East.
Remember to keep your sense of perspective and do not get bogged down with the details of logistics. Forget photography, you will get to see far better photos taken by professionals. Just try and get to see what is never otherwise possible with naked eyes and commit the experience to your memory.
Mandy Bular served as a tour guide to about 10 solar eclipses and also volunteers for a space research facility. She is enthusiastically following solar eclipse 2017 and released some help articles too for the public.
Image Credit: follow*light