Love the Eclipse You Are Given
June 14, 2017 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Don't live somewhere along the path of totality for viewing the eclipse on 21 August, and are curious just what you might see from your location? Try the eclipse simulator.
posted by terrapin (61 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nice! I'd been wondering that very thing. Thanks! We won't get a full eclipse in the SF Bay Area, but it will still be fun to experience.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:24 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Eclipse viewing in Baltimore is going to be better than I thought. Thanks for this!
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:26 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Partial eclipses are still pretty cool. Under a shade tree all the sunbeams will be crescent shaped.
posted by muddgirl at 8:27 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


...but I should add, if you are not in the path of totality, please do not look directly at the sun even if it gets a bit darker! Make a pinhole projector or get some eclipse glasses.

If you are in the path of totality, you can look directly at the sun during full totality.
posted by muddgirl at 8:28 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Bah. That simulator is US locations only.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:30 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


That simulator is US locations only.

Well, so is the eclipse. This map gives a better overall picture.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:33 AM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Oh wow! This is great! Thank you so much!
posted by The otter lady at 8:49 AM on June 14


I'm going to be car-camping in a crowded field north of Salem, OR, rather than staying in comfort at my friend's place in Portland, so that I can see totality while he misses it.

*runs simulator*

I question either my judgment or the simulator's ability to capture the true magnificence of totality.
posted by gurple at 8:51 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


My hometown of St Joseph, Missouri is the only major-ish city of decent size directly in the path and the city is freaking! out! It's exciting! Unfortunately I moved away years ago and flights that weekend are outrageous.

St. Joe has a bunch of interesting history stuff (it was the starting point for the Pony Express and also where Jesse James was murdered) so if you want to combine a weird little vacation with eclipse viewing, it could be a fun option. Although you'll probably have to stay in Kansas City, about 45 minutes away, because the hotels started selling out months ago. But honestly, it's better to stay in Kansas City anyway. Sorry, St. Joe.
posted by something something at 8:52 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


My area will get a pretty good partial eclipse, but knowing our luck it'll be overcast that day.

(I hope those figures on the ground aren't looking at the sun directly with that telescope)
posted by Lucinda at 8:53 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm sorry I wasn't able to plan a trip to somewhere with totality but I'll still be taking the day off to view and photograph the partial eclipse.

If you search Amazon for "eclipse glasses" you'll find everything you need to safely look at the eclipse. If you want to photograph it you should find a solar filter that will fit your longest camera lens (for dSLR) or make a filter for a point and shoot / phone camera out of "solar filter paper" or just tape your eclipse glasses in front of the lens.

Be very careful when looking through camera viewfinders or telescopes. Always make sure you have a solar filter that is properly fitted with no leaks.

For photographing with a dSLR you'll also want a tripod and a remote or just use a ten second timer to give vibrations time to dampen. If your camera has a mirror lock function that can also help to reduce vibrations.
posted by bondcliff at 8:53 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Well, so is the eclipse.

There will be a decent partial eclipse (50-80%) in Canada and northern Mexico (40-60%) as well if you look at the map in the original post, so no, this is not a US-only event. But whatever.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:08 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


That simulator is US locations only.

Well, so is the eclipse.


If only there were a country just to the north of the US where the partial eclipse will be visible! Never mind, I will put in Buffalo NY, like usual.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:09 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


My apologies to the Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Jamacians, Bahamians, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, and Texans.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:12 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


JoeZydeco: "That simulator is US locations only.

Well, so is the eclipse. This map gives a better overall picture.
"

What more apt celestial sign does 2017 need than that of all the world only America is plunged into darkness?
posted by chavenet at 9:18 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]


Never mind, I will put in Buffalo NY, like usual.

If you're in the GTA, you and I have to wait for the April 2024 eclipse. The GTA itself won't be in the path of totality -- that starts around the Ikea in Burlington. But the path of max totality goes right through south Buffalo and Cheektowaga!

OTOH, it's in April, so probably all that's going to happen is the bright spot in the clouds will get dark for a minute. BUT WE CAN HOPE!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:24 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


The Megamovie project is equally or even cooler than the simulator. looking forward to that.
posted by Miko at 9:32 AM on June 14


A serious thank-you for this.
posted by mystyk at 9:33 AM on June 14


chavenet: "What more apt celestial sign does 2017 need than that of all the world only America is plunged into darkness?"

This deserves repeating.
posted by mystyk at 9:40 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Free* eclipse glasses

*requires SASE**

**If you don't know what a SASE is, you've never watched Zoom***

***If you've never watched Zoom, get the fuck off my lawn.
posted by hippybear at 9:43 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


Where I live is 98-99% totality, but I have already taken the day off so I can drive the hour or so it takes to get to the center of the path. And since it's a Monday, I can even drive a day or two if needed to get to a non-cloudy location if needed. And took time off to get back, but will just do yard work or something if I don't have to travel too far.

I'm already thinking about planning for 2024 as well!

There was some discussion about meetups to watch the eclipse but I don't see where anything definite has been scheduled.
posted by TedW at 9:46 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I already know that we'll have about 80% here, and I'm going to be satisfied with that -- assuming we don't get the usual heavy cloud cover that has ruined nearly every nighttime celestial event for me since like the dawn of time. . . .

My hometown of St Joseph, Missouri is the only major-ish city of decent size directly in the path and the city is freaking! out! It's exciting! Unfortunately I moved away years ago and flights that weekend are outrageous.

. . . and I was just in St. Louis, where among other things, we visited their excellent Planetarium*. The show was all about the hows and whys and whens of eclipses. They seem pretty geeked, and of course, every spare bed in town in booked booked booked on Aug 21. STL one of the few major cities to be that near the 100 % line.

------------------------------------------------------
* This is not hyperbole, although the building is. A hyperbole, that is.
posted by Herodios at 9:48 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Free* eclipse glasses

Oh, yeah, and the STL Planetarium also gave away free eclipse glasses. And harped endlessly of the danger.

I remember the 1963 solar eclipse. I got the impression from the adults around me that one shouldn't even go outside during the eclipse, like it was made of nuclear fallout or something.

***If you've never watched Zoom, get the fuck off my lawn.

I was in college when the original Zoom was on. So who gets off whose lawn now?
 
posted by Herodios at 9:56 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


assuming we don't get the usual heavy cloud cover that has ruined nearly every nighttime celestial event for me since like the dawn of time. . . .

Happily, by definition, a solar eclipse is a daytime celestial event, so you should be good.
posted by hippybear at 9:56 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


I was in college when the original Zoom was on. So who gets off whose lawn now?

You get off my lawn, because Zoom was great even if you were in college.
posted by hippybear at 9:57 AM on June 14


I'm so excited! We're going to be at Carhenge, or at least somewhere nearby in case Carhenge is too overcrowded.

Carhenge is my husband's idea. I'd rather be at the top of a hill amongst nature, but he won the coin toss.
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:30 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Awesome! We wanted to do a program for children with this, but our legal/safety people won't let us encourage children to stare at the sun, even with the glasses. I get that they have a point, but still. At least we can use this.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:40 AM on June 14


I live in Atlanta - we're supposed to get something like 98% eclipsed. If eclipses didn't come with traffic, of course I'd drive the two hours or so to get into totality.

But I may just love the eclipse that I'm given, because Atlanta traffic will find a way to make me hate everybody and curse the sun and the moon for all time if I go to see it.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:44 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Oh man, it's a Monday, I work from home on Mondays. I am gonna drink an ice-cold beer and enjoy the hell out of the eclipse that I get.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:51 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


I also live in Atlanta, and I am determined to make a short road trip to experience maximum totality.
posted by polywomp at 11:54 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


YOUNG PEOPLE FOR WHOM THIS IS YOUR FIRST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE:

Make sure you are somewhere with trees!

Look at the shadows cast by the leaves, and listen to the birds.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:59 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Yep, another Atlantan trying to work out how early I need to leave to get to Tallulah Falls to avoid traffic...5a? I camped at Tallulah last month, and it was fairly nice, though I'm sure the sites are taken for that weekend.

Eclipse meet-up! (I'm only mostly joking.)
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:00 PM on June 14


This is awesome! I bought enough eclipse glasses for my whole office so we can all go outside and take a look.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:05 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Note for anyone looking at camping for the eclipse: National Wilderness is available to be used by anyone in any place in any way.

Please be responsible with your fires (check for fire bans) and your feces (bury deep or pack out).
posted by hippybear at 12:06 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I, too, am already planning to get into the Path of Totality for the 2024 eclipse.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:07 PM on June 14


Salmon, Idaho.
Woot!
Doesn't get any more total than that.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:23 PM on June 14


It looks like I'll be able to see more than I thought! Time to get some glasses!
posted by sperose at 12:26 PM on June 14


I am looking forward to it. We have a family cabin in the NC totality area. I put in first dibs the minute I realized it was in such a prized location 18 months ago. Unfortunately everybody else is coming up anyways. For some reason I am foolishly hoping to head back south to Florida afterwards, and not suffer through too much traffic. I suspect I will be disappointed.

I was going to order eclipse glasses, but apparently everyone in town is handing them out like tic-tacs.
posted by Badgermann at 12:31 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Ooh, nearly 50%, which is much more than I'd expected. I just informed my August houseguest that we have plans for the eclipse!
posted by Room 641-A at 12:36 PM on June 14


Thank you posting this!
posted by Room 641-A at 12:36 PM on June 14


"Although you'll probably have to stay in Kansas City, about 45 minutes away, because the hotels started selling out months ago. But honestly, it's better to stay in Kansas City anyway. Sorry, St. Joe."

Pretty much anywhere north of the river in Kansas City will be within the totality, though not on the center line, as you will be. The airport itself will be within the totality and there's hotels there, of course. My house is well within the totality (at 1:09PM), though I'm not sure what we're planning -- it might be fun to drive a bit further north out into the country.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:58 PM on June 14


I found a state park a couple hundred miles away from home that's within the totality and has non-reserveable campsites, so if I get there early enough I should have a place to sleep Sunday night, probably. But it does look like I'll get plenty to see if I don't take the day off work, so maybe I shouldn't bother.

I should tell the transit people that I am entirely in favor of a slightly delayed schedule around noon so that even the drivers have a chance to stop and watch the shadows.

Here's hoping it's not cloudy that day.
posted by asperity at 1:43 PM on June 14


Here's hoping it's not cloudy that day.

I've missed too many total eclipses for various reasons in my life, mostly as they've been too far away to be reasonable. This time, I'm not reserving any particular location. I've already made it known that we're sleeping in the car in a parking lot if need be, but the viewing location will be made when we get into the 2-3 day ahead window where the weather forecasts can be considered mostly reliable, and then I will be driving to wherever is going to be clearest. This includes the town along the path containing my inlaws and their relations.

Woe be unto all of you if the entire path is socked in with clouds.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:49 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Here's hoping it's not cloudy that day.

This is why I'm not getting too excited about the eclipse. I live in the Pacific Northwest, well within the 90% totality range, but we rarely get enough clear skies to even try to plan for astronomical phenomenon. From this far out, almost exactly two months away, the chances of it being overcast and cloudy anywhere between here and Bend, Oregon are pretty much 100%, and we won't know for sure until the day of the eclipse.

Like, if I had a dollar for every time the weather forecast around here changed from sunny and clear to socked in overcast marine layer with a light mizzle, well, I could probably just buy Corvallis. If I had another dollar for every time I planned for an astronomical phenomenon only to find clouds overhead, I might be able to buy Bend, too.

If it's not cloudy? Yay. I'll go and observe the eclipse and maybe try to get some unusual pictures. That I'll plan for. I'm not sure of what/where I'll shoot yet but it'll probably involve a landscape of some kind, but with my limited equipment and camera I'll probably be better off focusing on the people watching the eclipse and going for the human interest side of things rather than trying to be a serious astro-helio-photographer without a telephoto or ND filter dark enough to blot out the sun.

I'm definitely not interested in planning to go to Corvallis, which is going to be an epic clusterfuck of a size and scope that's probably going to make the original Woodstock festival look well planned and under attended. Oregon Department of Transportation is now estimating up to 1 million people are going to try to cram themselves into Corvallis, which normally has a population of about 50,000.

This means that traffic on the day of the eclipse the whole city is going to be effectively gridlocked, and doing simple errands like getting breakfast at a diner or coffee at a coffee shop is going to take much longer than anyone estimates, if it's even possible at all. As in, you can't even drive to the parking lot that's full and has a line of cars waiting to get in anyway kind of impossible.

The smart eclipse chasers I've seen commenting online that are going to Corvallis area are effectively treating it like a zombie apocalypse dry run and bringing everything they need from outside of the area, including basics like plenty of water, ice and even backup fuel for vehicles, not to mention shelter and the basics for camping and road tripping.

With a million people in tiny Corvallis it's likely that they will have serious issues with the cell phone networks and telecoms in general. Even if there aren't any major issues like car accidents, any hospital or ER in Corvallis is likely going to be drowning in out of town visitors just due to the the fucky statistics of health care. Like, there's going to be X number of heart attacks and births just because there's at least a million frickin' people there, and who knows how many people are going to show up in the ER half blind complaining of gritty feeling eyes because they didn't heed all the warnings and they stared at the sun?

And I can't help but feel that a lot of the excitement about them today is a holdover from when they were seen as mysterious and dark omens, somewhat taboo and forbidding. Or maybe it's that they're not very subtle or that they happen by default during the daylight hours, making them more accessible.

I know, I'm totally being astro-snooty, but I just find eclipses totally underwhelming, like "Hey, neat, the moon is casting a shadow! Look at me, I'm making a shadow, too! Wee!"

Like, the best part of an eclipse for me isn't even the totality itself, but how shadows go all weird, especially under a tree. That's pretty bizarre and fun.

But I'll take a good aurora, comet or meteor storm over an eclipse any day. They last longer, they're easier to look at, they're much prettier and you usually don't have to elbow your way through huge crowds to view them.
posted by loquacious at 3:17 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


The animation makes me feel better about the decision to stay home. I'm only 45 miles from the zone of totality but fighting traffic isn't something I want to do even though I've had this on my calendar for years and already have eclipse glasses. My sweetie has the day off and I took it off too so we'll chill in the backyard with some tea and enjoy the dusk.
posted by vespabelle at 7:01 PM on June 14


My family is driving from Arizona to Washington this summer and the only lodging we have scheduled so far is 2 days in Portland the Sunday and Monday around the eclipse. Portland was the closest place we could find a suitable place to stay on our path that wasn't already booked. Our current plan is to watch the weather reports, then wake up at like 4 to drive to out to a good spot. We were thinking Corvallis if the weather held, but now I'm thinking with all of those people...nope.

We saw the 2012 annular eclipse at Lake Powell in Northern Arizona. We happened to luck into a relatively uncrowded spot with about 50 astronomers and their awesome equipment. The canyon backdrop with the ring of fire effect was amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life and it sparked an ongoing love of astronomy in my now 9 year old. I don't know that we can top that, but we hopefully won't end up disappointed at least.
posted by Lapin at 7:41 PM on June 14


Wow, loquacious. The time I drove to an eclipse (in Redding) it was not remotely as insane as it sounds like Corvallis is gonna be. Damn.

That said, given what was said about cloud cover, I no longer feel bad that I I have work and probably won't schlep out for this one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:45 PM on June 14


Shadows get weird even at 30%. But the difference between 99% and !00% is, well, the difference between night and day, almost literally. Make the drive to get to 100%, if you can. You won't have the time often. Last time I made the drive from 99% to 100% was in the 60's from Portland Maine up north, where the highways were lined with telescopes and cameras. Yeah, it was a little cloudy, but it was worth it.
posted by kozad at 8:43 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


But the difference between 99% and !00% is, well, the difference between night and day, almost literally. Make the drive to get to 100%, if you can.

I don't mean to discourage anyone else, but this is really far down on my personal astronomical bucket list. It's just not personally worth the cost and hassle for what amounts to a minute and a half of weird darkness and a strange sudden coolness to the air.

I've been close enough to totality in an eclipse to get it. It's a big weird shadow. The moon almost perfectly occults the disc of the sun and you get Baily's beads as bits of the sun crest through the mountains and valleys on the moon and all that cool stuff.

And I get it, I really do, and I'm... I'm honestly just bored. It's cool and all but it's just anticlimactic to me, perhaps because a solar eclipse is pretty much all about that decades/years long buildup to 2 minutes of climax.

It's like the charismatic megafauna of the astronomical event world.

The more I think about it, the more it feels like it's possibly one of the least exciting and least scientifically interesting astronomical phenomena there is. It's just a shadow. It's there all the time, so I just don't get that excited that the shadow happens to land nearby or right on me. It's really easy to visualize and understand, and it was perhaps only mysterious until we figured out that nothing actually revolves around the Earth at all except for our little Moon.

The only way I'd get truly excited about seeing a full eclipse is if I got to watch the shadow from orbit or a high altitude plane or some other unique vantage point where I could actually see the penumbral and umbral shadows racing across an entire continent. That I'd love to see.

It's ok for me to not be that into eclipses. I'm bringing this up because I want other people to know it's ok if they're underwhelmed by it, too.

That it's ok if they don't drop everything, spend lots of money on gas for this one particular astronomical event, because a lot of people tend to find it underwhelming when they do and they're just doing it because everyone else is telling them that they must do it or they're missing a once in a lifetime experience.

People have put themselves, their families and/or wallets through a lot of stress chasing events like this only to find them underwhelming or anticlimactic, and that can be bad for science literacy in general - like charismatic megafauna - because after all that hype they might tune out everything else.

This actually happened during the 1986 return of Halley's Comet. Sears alone must have sold a million crappy telescopes. I remember there being a lot of backlash and disillusionment from the general public after Halley's turned out to be a dud.

There's just so many other things I'd rather spend my time and energy to see. Weather permitting I go out and spend time looking at and/or photographing the night sky on at least a weekly basis. If I had a big scope and a camera mount I'd probably be doing some proper astrophotography, too.

That said - if you have the means to go? If you're personally curious, like, at all? Do go.

If you've never paid attention to a solar eclipse at all, partial or otherwise? You definitely should pay attention this time and try to experience it.

But remember it's ok to feel underwhelmed if that's what your experience is. A lot of people feel that way, and I know I'm not the only one.

As for me, my eclipse experience will either be finding a local viewing/science party in town where I can make and hand out pinhole-in-foil viewers, or I'm going to try to shoot some video of weird shadows somewhere really pretty and sun-dappled for future use in a music video.

Either of those will be just fine and quite satisfying.

It might also help to understand that A) I really hate large crowds, especially actual megacrowds of people and B) I kind of hate the sun because I have sensitive eyes, so even with eclipse glasses or indirect pinhole viewing everything is so bright it's essentially unobservable to me anyway, if not outright unpleasantly painful.
posted by loquacious at 9:55 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Wow, I'm really excited about the eclipse. I'll most likely drive down from Portland to Salem a couple days early and stay at some friend's house for it.
posted by gucci mane at 12:33 AM on June 15


As far as I can tell, the last time a path of totality went across any part of the US was in 1979, which was about 5 years before I was born, so yeah, I'm going to get excited about this schlocky overrated astronomical event, even if that makes me a huge normie. How would I know if I'm going to be underwhelmed if I've never had a chance to see one for the reasonable outlay of a few vacation days and a few tanks of gas?
posted by muddgirl at 6:11 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I've never been underwhelmed by any of the solar eclipses I've seen in my life. They're short, yes, but consistently astonishing. The crescent shadows under the trees are fantastic, the weird way nature seems to quiet down is deeply meditative, and the oddness of the nighttime during the day creates a feeling that stays with me for a long time.

We get a nice view in Raleigh, but I'm debating travelling a couple of hours to do the complete version. Weather permitting, the travel side will win, I bet.
posted by mediareport at 6:31 AM on June 15


I'm going to be camping in the path of the totality, and I've used the predicted traffic as an excuse to buy a new cooler (I love camping gear more than is strictly healthy). I don't want to be driving anywhere in the area on Sunday or Monday, not even just to get ice.

> so yeah, I'm going to get excited about this schlocky overrated astronomical event, even if that makes me a huge normie

Hell yeah! I'll be dorking out and embarrassing my kids and loving every minute, even if it's cloudy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:50 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


> I've been close enough to totality in an eclipse to get it

You were into eclipses before eclipses were cool.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:51 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I've been close enough to totality in an eclipse to get it

You were into eclipses before eclipses were cool.


Once you fly your Lear jet to Nova Scotia, any other total eclipse of the sun just doesn't measure up.

Also, every eclipse post should automatically include a "syzygy" tag. Maybe I should make a pony request in MetaTalk.
posted by TedW at 11:51 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


"every eclipse post should automatically include a "syzygy" tag"

Can't help with automatic, but I added it.
posted by terrapin at 12:00 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


syzygy

21 points. Up to 93 with doubble and trippple squares.

The STL planetariumnist was also quite taken with the word.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:21 PM on June 15


21 points. Up to 93 with doubble and trippple squares.

Are you taking into account that one of the y's has to be a blank with 0 points?
posted by TedW at 6:26 PM on June 15


I'm thinking a trip to Dubois, WY area the week of the eclipse may be in order.
posted by dwbrant at 5:42 AM on June 16


We saw the 2012 annular eclipse at Lake Powell in Northern Arizona.

Oh, are they making them annular now? I guess I missed it last year.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:01 AM on June 16




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