"In the year the cheeto ascends the throne, the sun will hide in shame"
January 4, 2017 3:15 PM   Subscribe

On August 21st this year, a solar eclipse will sweep across continental USA for the first time in decades. Between 10:15am in Oregon and 2:49pm in South Carolina, the sun will be blotted out in parts of 14 states to greatly varying degrees, with all of the contiguous United States seeing at least a partial eclipse. This iteration belongs to Saros 145; the longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds just south of Carbondale, Illinois and the greatest extent will be between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky. The best place to view? Depends, even as towns vie for viewers and predict the masses. While astronomers are excited, prophets are worried. Also, a google map, resource bibliography and an alien invasion.
posted by Wordshore (46 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
This "Wordshore" dares accroach him fair Apollo's throne? Let him taste the pyre's flames!
posted by theodolite at 3:26 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]

And again in 2024!

We in Buffamalo will be right in the path of totality! That's good!

But it's in April! Which means all we'll see is the brightish spot in the clouds get dark and then light up again! That's bad!

But frogurt will remain tasty, low-fat, and affordable!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:33 PM on January 4 [11 favorites]

My husband and I have been planning to trip the US just to see this. I emailed a friend who is an astrophysicist in Nebraska for advice, and he replied:

"Your choices of places to view the eclipse from are extensive, as it's a true coast-to-coast event across the US, with only modest differences in eclipse duration (from 2 min in Oregon to 2:40 in Kentucky/Tennessee). The center of the eclipse track in our area [Lincoln] is 2:35...

We were in Grand Teton National Park (WY) this summer, and they were selling postcards complete with punch-out eclipse glasses; they're in the path! That would be a great place to consider.

This website (which you've probably already seen) is good, and the interactive Google map they link is the ultimate authority for the precise timing and duration of the eclipse: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/path_through_the_US.htm

My advice would be:
1) Find someplace with good chances of clear skies for the appropriate time of day in August. The last thing you want is to get clouded out!
2) Consider having a car at your disposal, and a good stretch of road for moving along the eclipse path, if that morning things don't look good but you have a few hours to reposition. We're in a good place in Nebraska, because Interstate 80 is close to parallel to the path, and is a good straight open road!"
posted by web-goddess at 3:35 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]

Booked a big group vacation around this a year ago, fingers crossed for great weather in Central Oregon!
posted by butternsugar at 3:40 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

There's a group of friends gearing up to go do this from my town. I'm saving up for an all-weather tent, and setting aside non- perishable food supplies.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:44 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

gathers a bag of cheetos and a duck and goes to river
posted by pyramid termite at 3:45 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

Over in the podcast, an English blatherskite of dubious provenance has described his approach to this fugacious event: specifically, to attend the closing day or days of the Iowa State Fair, look at the weather forecast, and head for either Kansas or Nebraska.
posted by Wordshore at 3:58 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

Out of all of those thoughtfully considered links I clicked on the prophecy one. WTF is wrong me?
posted by photoslob at 4:00 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]

I booked a hotel A YEAR IN ADVANCE and literally everything in the eclipse path was already booked up! So we've got a kid-friendly hotel an hour outside the eclipse path where we can go to the pool, etc., and drive an hour into the eclipse area. I'm HOPING that's close enough that we can make it in and the traffic won't be insane!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:18 PM on January 4

We've planned a vacation around this as well. Maybe we should get our hotel room squared away. At least we're planning to be in Bumblefuck Nowhere Nebraska, so there might not be as much competition.
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:24 PM on January 4

I'm basing myself in St Louis the night before and then I have three ways out of town to the west and south to find a good viewing spot.

Last I checked, there were plenty of rooms on Sunday night.
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:57 PM on January 4

We're going down towards Carbondale and it's also college move-in weekend, so I think the double-whammy is doing it in. We looked around the national forest, etc., down there too, but outside the college towns there just isn't a lot of hotel capacity.

But I think an hour outside the viewing area should be very manageable.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:04 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]

My mom's house is only 20 miles from the line of greatest totality in Tennessee, so I'm set for a place to stay! Now let's just hope for clear weather.
posted by vibrotronica at 5:35 PM on January 4

I am eagerly awaiting my first total solar eclipse! I happen to live about an hour from Columbia SC, where we will get 99% totality, but I made sure to take that day off so I can drive somewhere near the center of the path of totality. I also plan on watching the weather closely in case I need to drive somewhere else, even leaving a day or two early if need be. I got a kick out of this:
Only a handful of spots in the entire country will have a good view, and Columbia is one of them. Around one million visitors are expected to descend on the city to witness the eclipse.

Only a handful? The eclipse will be on a path from Newport Oregon to Charleston South Carolina! It would be hard to come up with a path that will give more places to view it! And I would think people would want to go someplace less likely to be cloudy if they can.

I have always thought it would be cool to have a solar telescope (like this) and may get one for this. I would also like to do some photography, but need to make sure I don't get so carried away with gadgets that I end up missing it.

We should have eclipse meetups!
posted by TedW at 5:44 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

We booked a couple nights in Charleston (at the cheapest four star I could get with Chase Ultimate Rewards points on a refundable booking). Every lodge in Grand Teton National Park was booked up when I checked, but I suppose it might be worth monitoring that for cancellations. I had to call Signal Mountain Lodge (where we stayed this past September, and which only does bookings for the next season by phone) and the nice man said they had sold out within an hour the day bookings opened up. I said, "yeah, we had talked about it but we couldn't commit."

Every remotely reasonable hotel room in Jackson, WY was booked when I checked; everything in Salem, OR was too, except for an insanely-priced Doubletree. For that matter everything I checked on the Oregon coast was booked, but I wasn't exhaustive in that search. We kicked around the idea of staying in Pigeon Forge, TN and driving into the path (and also visiting Dollywood), but Charleston won out.

If you're planning ahead for 2024, Niagara Falls is in the path of totality. Personally I'm trying to figure out if I can make Newfoundland work.
posted by fedward at 5:57 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]

I am seconding the suggestion for MeFi eclipse meetups, as I have only just begun to plan for my eclipse vacation. I was also thinking St. Louis, with Oregon being too far and Wyoming too wilderness-y.

Let me add that I was thinking about renting an RV, as I have a Commercial Driver's License and am qualified to drive one.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:01 PM on January 4

One other thing; can we get a syzygy tag for this? One of those words that I always look for a chance to use but never get to.
posted by TedW at 6:02 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

Syzygy tag: Done!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't find a hotel in the path! I feel like less of a schlub now, I felt like the worst space-nerd mom! It's at 1:20 in the afternoon in Carbondale so I figure if we head out first thing in the morning we can dork around some parks and playgrounds until eclipse time and be within the path in plenty of time from an hour away. I HOPE.

We like the hotel anyway so even if it rains for three solid days and we see NOTHING, the kids will have fun at the hotel.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:32 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]

Now that I know, I want to go. Wyoming seems to be the best option. Searching for hotels along the path of totality is frustrating! Everything's sold out on the big day. I'm guessing in Idaho also. How to filter "Sold Out" results on the big travel sites? Or maybe that's the wrong approach; I guess I must begin calling them individually. Any tips for securing lodging?
posted by Rash at 6:35 PM on January 4

From Annie Dillard's Total Eclipse

Now the sky to the west deepened to indigo, a color never seen. A dark sky usually loses color. This was a saturated, deep indigo, up in the air. Stuck up into that unworldly sky was the cone of Mount Adams, and the alpenglow was upon it. The alpenglow is that red light of sunset which holds out on snowy mountain tops long after the valleys and tablelands are dimmed. “Look at Mount Adams,” I said, and that was the last sane moment I remember.

I turned back to the sun. It was going. The sun was going, and the world was wrong. The grasses were wrong; they were platinum. Their every detail of stem, head, and blade shone lightless and artificially distinct as an art photographer’s platinum print. This color has never been seen on earth. The hues were metallic; their finish was matte. The hillside was a nineteenth-century tinted photograph from which the tints had faded. All the people you see in the photograph, distinct and detailed as their faces look, are now dead. The sky was navy blue. My hands were silver. All the distant hills’ grasses were finespun metal which the wind laid down. I was watching a faded color print of a movie filmed in the Middle Ages; I was standing in it, by some mistake. I was standing in a movie of hillside grasses filmed in the Middle Ages. I missed my own century, the people I knew, and the real light of day.
posted by jjj606 at 6:37 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]

Does this mean we can finally have the Lincoln, NE meetup I've been hoping for? I will throw an eclipse party!
posted by PussKillian at 6:37 PM on January 4

Just learning about this! Thank you!

Also, from web-goddess's link: No human action can disrupt the incessant dance of the cosmos, and the Moon's shadow will not wait on you if you're not ready. Like a mindless juggernaut, it plows its way through space... A billions & billions times this. :o)
posted by foodbedgospel at 6:48 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]

Yes, Wyoming is probably the most likely place to be clear of clouds on The Day. True, motels in Casper are sold out, but it is just a couple of hours drive from Cheyenne. But don't book in Cheyenne! We haven't gotten around to it yet! BTW, most of you are aware of this, but the difference between a 99% solar eclipse and a 100% solar eclipse is the difference between night and day (almost literally). I was in Portland, Maine, one day around 1970, give or take five years, and we had to drive north for a few hours to get to totality. Every little highway was jammed with solar eclipse tourists. It was amazing. The eclipse was a bit clouded over, but still wonderful.

I'm not planning on a photoextravaganza...plenty of people are going to do that for me. I'm just going to drive north from Denver and experience it as a revelation.
posted by kozad at 7:56 PM on January 4

No human action can disrupt the incessant dance of the cosmos, and the Moon's shadow will not wait on you if you're not ready. Like a mindless juggernaut, it plows its way through space...

I'm not so sure about that.

If we do manage to melt all the ice around the poles, all that newly liquid water will flow down to lower latitudes and make the Earth's rotation slow down a bit more rapidly than it would have, and assuming the Moon's orbit is undisturbed (not exactly true), eclipses will follow a different path across the face of the Earth than they would have.

And the water will tend to increase the bulge at the Equator, and resulting greater tidal friction will slow the Earth's rotation down even more -- and also reduce Earth's angular momentum, which merely redistributing the mass of water would not -- and that will cause the Moon to move away from the Earth faster than it would have, and then eclipses will really start to be different.
posted by jamjam at 8:22 PM on January 4

Oh we should totally have an eclipse meetup!

Yes, we did our research and felt that central Oregon probably would be the closest drive with least likely cloud cover in August, so we booked our spot in Sun River which conincidentally has an awesome public observatory, (not to mention volcano calderas, caves, and water sports) so our boys are going to have a weeklong Nerd-cation.

What's that you say? Why yes, in fact, I am the World's Greatest Dad.

I'm calling for a meetup at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend on the evening after the eclipse.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:27 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

Supposedly there is a big Native American ceremony in the Wind River Canyon for this event. My wife really wants to go. Thankfully we have her family cabin to stay at nearby. Should be neat.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 8:28 PM on January 4

I'm up for a MeFi eclipse meetup! My kids will be with my ex in Oregon, so I'm a free agent.
posted by Sublimity at 8:31 PM on January 4

You need no eclipse meetings or solar telescopes. As this occurs on my birthday, it is the recognition of the cosmos that my ascendance begins on this, the anniversary of my half-century of walking this world.

I will be kind, merciful, and beneficient to those who please me.

stares pointedly at his Favorites count
posted by Samizdata at 8:36 PM on January 4 [16 favorites]

theodolite: "This "Wordshore" dares accroach him fair Apollo's throne? Let him taste the pyre's flames!"

Look, you, I said I was being merciful. Don't push it.
posted by Samizdata at 8:41 PM on January 4

I've created a proposed event for a Mefi IRL meetup in Carbondale for anyone who might be interested.
posted by metaphorever at 8:51 PM on January 4

But don't book in Cheyenne! We haven't gotten around to it yet!

Better act fast -- I just got the last cheap room there, maybe. Also, like Casper, countless "Sold Out" listings for Cheyenne -- why does Expedia search results even display those? I don' get it. But nevertheless, we're in. It's exciting!
posted by Rash at 9:01 PM on January 4

Beneath a deciduous tree (leafed, not needles), every aperture between thousands of leaves cast an eclipse to the ground; if there is a breeze, they appear to whorl. When a young man, I witnessed this while reading Graves' The White Goddess and about died.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 11:26 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]

"I booked a hotel A YEAR IN ADVANCE" "in Bumblefuck Nowhere Nebraska" but somehow, after double checking the reservation a month later, there is no record of that booking and all the rooms (even in Bumblefuck) are taken (at twice the normal rate).
posted by tgyg at 11:44 PM on January 4

posted by boilermonster at 11:55 PM on January 4




posted by Samizdata at 12:11 AM on January 5

Yikes, Bend, OR is basically sold out already for the 20th! I did find a place to stay for not crazy money for the day itself, so perhaps I can stay with friends in Portland and drive down super early (middle of the night) and beat the rush of presumably thousands of Portlanders and others doing the same thing! I'd be up for a Bend meet up though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:35 AM on January 5

Does this mean we can finally have the Lincoln, NE meetup I've been hoping for? I will throw an eclipse party!

I am seconding the suggestion for MeFi eclipse meetups, as I have only just begun to plan for my eclipse vacation.

I've created a proposed event for a Mefi IRL meetup in Carbondale for anyone who might be interested.

I'd be up for a Bend meet up though.

I'm up for a MeFi eclipse meetup!

I really like the idea of several MeFite meetups along the path of the eclipse at the same time; hope something like that happens. Have tagged this post MeFiEclipse for future reference.
posted by Wordshore at 6:02 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]

It looks like there are lots of pretty affordable camp spots at the Madras Solarfest, which has a great chance of good weather. That might be worth a meet up, too.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:12 AM on January 5

Me, looking at eclipse stuff: "Huh. One of the best places to see it is in Illinois. So I could, as another option, stay overnight in Chicago before then pop on a bus or train for a short trip the next morning and voila, eclipse!"

{Fires up Google Maps. Punches in place names.}

Stares at results. Quietly swears. Remembers that British distances* are not the same as American distances.

* (I did an England coast-to-coast trip a few years back. It took four hours, which included meal, restroom and shopping breaks)
posted by Wordshore at 6:19 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]

This is gonna be the first one where everyone has a camera.

App idea! Sound cues from the camera to help aiming.
posted by whuppy at 6:41 AM on January 5

Hmm, looks like I'm either going to my uncle's house or to my (now sold) lake house in 2024. Good thing we're friendly with the neighbors who bought the place. They won't likely mind me standing out on the dock for 5 minutes. ;)

I'm SOL for 2017, though. Our friend in Charleston moved back to Jacksonville last year. Too bad. An 80ish% partial eclipse isn't at all bad. I can live with that.
posted by wierdo at 7:47 AM on January 5

I won't lie, I saw the title, saw Wordshore wrote it, and was worried this was a new post-election thread.

This is a lot nicer. Carbondale's not too far away, and huh, there's an irl thing that just popped up about it...
posted by qcubed at 10:20 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]

This iteration belongs to Saros 145

More shadowy money from George Saros...
posted by atoxyl at 1:35 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]

I'll be in Oregon for a music festival/eclipse watching party! Anyone else going? It should be a good time :)
posted by Arbac at 1:50 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]

Oh I'll definitely be in Salem for this. I imagine it being like that scene in Independence Day where everyone is on the skyscraper waving signs at the aliens before getting blasted. Except I'll probably be zooted out of my mind with all of my friends ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by gucci mane at 5:55 PM on January 5

So I have my eclipse plans nailed down. What's a cheap/reliable way to get either eclipse glasses or the properly-rated welding glasses? Don't want to buy the first search result off Amazon and scorch my eyes.
posted by edeezy at 1:45 AM on January 12

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