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Total Eclipse of the Sun - now less than 6 months out

Total Eclipse of the Sun - now less than 6 months out

Old Oct 19th, 2023, 09:34 PM
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Total Eclipse of the Sun - now less than 6 months out

Those not yet completely aware should be reminded that in less than 6 months, on April 8, 2024, there will be a total eclipse of the sun visible on a swath that goes from the Tex-Mex border, through Dallas, Little Rock... east of St. Louis... Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, Burlington. (this sort of eclipse makes the recent annular eclipse look silly by comparison **to those within the band of totality, that is )


The entire eclipse event happens over 2 or 3 hours... but the meat of the attraction is just 3 or 4 minutes long... and only in the band of totality.


If your back porch is just inside the edge of the band of totality... then sure, have a few friends over, make some hot dogs... and at least take comfort in the probability that some bum won't stumble into your eclipse group and wreck the experience.

Outside of that, it would make the most sense to target a spot as near as possible to the CENTER of the band of totality... so you can get the most minutes/seconds of full eclipse.


It would also make sense to seek a location where people had to make an effort to reach... so that you can be confident that those sharing your experience from nearby are invested in the idea just like you are.

Preparation for the 2017 Eclipse that knew a swath from Oregon to the Carolinas included intricate charts that ranked spots on the swath according to how many million Americans counted that spot as their nearest place on the swath.

Guessing at traffic patterns is crazy... but if you seek a strategic viewing location that is out and away from society, you can be confident that others with the same idea made it their goal to get there early - perhaps camping all weekend in preparation for the Monday event.

It is a fair guess, then, that traffic TO eclipse areas early on eclipse day will be less frantic than some might envision.


If you place yourself in a small crowd, each of whom had to work a little bit to get there, you can be confident that the sentiments will be shared by all in attendance. The vast oooooohs, and aaaaaaaahs, and occasional cheers from the crowds will usually enhance a very happy event.


Traffic leaving some remote spots, done all at once, will be bedlam... and can easily linger well into the next state over... but by then, that's OK too.


IF you are NOT going to be in the band of totality, you can share eclipse glasses with a few other people with nothing really lost, as long as others keep passing the glasses along.


IF you are going TO the band of totality, then it makes more sense that everyone should have his/her own special/certified eclipse glasses... for it is only during the brief window (3 or 4 minutes) that you can dare to look up without the special eclipse glasses (through which there is only ONE thing you can see). Those that "invested" tend to want to do a better job of anticipating the first hint of totality... and thus more constant looking directly at the sun as it is slowly eclipsed.


There are lots of tricks with shadows... and with nearby animals and their sounds... as well as a sharp temperature drop, to be experienced along with the trek toward totality.


And at the end... when the first small "glow" of the returning sun appears... alas, The Diamond Ring


Here is a music video that will let you anticipate what you'll experience during a total eclipse of the sun:


(and yes, they had to film it in one take)


Here is another video which will let you see the surrounding area get dark... while listening to the spontaneous crowd reactions to the ongoing event.


(with humanity being what it is, those very same reactions will likely occur predictably at most any eclipse gathering away from the rest of the world )

You can find charts online which underscore the probability of CLOUDS in any given spot on April 8, 2024... and as a general rule you are safer from that if viewing well away from large bodies of water, than if near the shores.

It is a good idea to maybe take a trip somewhere, stay outside of the eclipse path (for more reasonable lodging rates)... and then leave yourself with two or more options in terms of which direction to head on eclipse day, based on the immediate weather forecast.

Hope this inspires some here to make definite plans to witness it.




April 8, 2024... fifty years to the day after Hank Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth.

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Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 10:58 AM
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Oh man, we are SO EXCITED for this! We're heading to Utopia, Texas (in Hill Country) to go camping for the eclipse, and did a lot of research to find the right location. This map (https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US/d/unit...se/camping/all) was probably the best resource we found to look for UNCROWDED campsites within the path of the eclipse. Would love to hear where else people are heading!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 05:03 AM
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Vermont is gearing up for this event. We live at the edge of the path of totality so may just stay home. We could see the eclipse a little longer if we travel a short distance so we might do that -- probably NOT to Burlington which will be crowded.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 06:18 AM
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We are going to my hometown in OHIO which is in the center of the path. Made reservations a year ago or so.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 06:27 AM
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I just heard that Cedar Point amusement park near Sandusky Ohio will be at least partially open for the eclipse date. Let's hope that the shore of Lake Erie is cloud free when the eclipse happens. I am still considering being in Erie Pennsylvania then.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 03:16 PM
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We will drive up to Western New York and, yes, made reservations months go. Hoping for good weather for the drive and clear skies the day of the eclipse!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 05:59 PM
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I live in Erie PA and will be taking off from work that day for the event!
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Old Dec 27th, 2023, 10:56 AM
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(pause to ruminate over being in "Utopia" for a total eclipse of the sun) LOL


Randomly throwing things out there:

For the 2017 Eclipse, there were computer generated reports of the spots LEAST LIKELY TO HAVE CLOUDS along the west-to-east path of the eclipse which spanned the entire USA...

and despite the big event being in mid-August, I was somewhat surprised when the "best" chance of clear skies was ONLY "75%".

NOT much of that 2017 path was near LARGE bodies of water (big enough to have their own weather patterns)... and when (totally guessing) from this far out, I would still be inclined to NOT be tethered to a place along the shore of one of the Great Lakes for eclipse viewing. Now obviously if you have the luxury of waking up in your home at 4am that day and driving due south (from Erie, PA), it's FINE from this far out...

(but my vibe is not to plan from far away an eclipse experience based in a spot on the shores of a Great Lake)


It was kinda funny all the things I contemplated prior to Eclipse day 2017... (one was a chart that documented for how many (millions of) people any given SPOT on the center line was the closest spot in the center of totality to their homes )

(some random dot in Idaho had a hUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUge number that way, so I recall) (obviously almost nobody prioritized THE precise totality spot nearest to their home, but as an 'average', it wasn't a bad line of thinking)


Also, it makes sense to wonder when the roads would be most crowded, perhaps even to the point of not being able to get where you're hoping to go at all. (MY experience was that, for the Monday morning (2017) eclipse, people traveled early, and spent the whole weekend, and they were already there filling the roadsides by the time I drove in early on Monday morning)

I have this... odd... concern about being in the middle of a CITY... and doing normal things... and having random street people somehow stumbling into the midst of my eclipse experience and finding a way to ruin it.

Another concern about being in a strange-to-you city for the eclipse... is tall buildings. Unless you know the area, you may not be aware of PRECISELY where the sun IS at that time of the afternoon, and whether there might be a building directly in your way. (so minimal trees, and minimal buildings is probably the right move)


IN NO WAY would I consent to pay extreme prices for lodging "inside the zone of totality". You don't NEED to be staying there 2 or 3 nights early, at those prices. (it DOES make sense to secure rental car reservations well in advance, if need be)

With the strip of totality being so vast, it makes the most sense to stay in a strategic (larger area, with many hotel/motel options) from which you can drive in either of 2 (or 3?) different directions come eclipse day based on last-minute weather forecasts.

There is a LOT to be said for being in a spot where everybody there had to make an EFFORT to get there ... the vast numbers of like-minded, appreciative Eclipse viewers will likely enhance your experience, as was the case at the Painted Hills of Oregon for me in 2017.


HOPEFULLY the considerable swath of totality will splendidly accommodate all of those wishing to witness the event from far and wide. There must be many strategic moves for getting to and from the best spots, which I'm not even considering.

(maybe you don't want to be among the masses heading back TO St. Louis soon after the total eclipse occurs EAST OF there... although maybe on interstate freeways the infrastructure will match the demand much better than was the case where I was in very-rural Oregon) (there was ONE... absurd stop sign which backed up traffic for miles... it was just across a bridge going from Oregon to Washington.. even though the eclipse path was through central Oregon).

IF you sense that you'll be on a crowded path going home AFTER the eclipse... it could be HOURS... and for that you should probably bring snacks and beverages to have in your car, in case there is a delay.


NEVER before in my life had I seen as many unique State license plates in one spot than what I saw at the Painted Hills of Oregon on Eclipse day.



If you want to sense more "before and after" details of the total eclipse experience from 2017, you can review this linked thread from Fodors here:


Total Eclipse of the Sun visible in USA - plan ahead for August 21, 2017 - Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (fodors.com)

Obviously this was from the 2017 Eclipse, but they went all out to make a big deal of this, and it really was that.

Last edited by NorthwestMale; Dec 27th, 2023 at 11:02 AM.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2024, 02:59 PM
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Now we are 76 days away from Eclipse Day... hope many of you are doing all you can to get to the band of totality.


The difference between being within the band of totality and being not far outside of it... will be quite literally the difference between night, and day.


So now's the time to find some eclipse glasses (of the certified variety) and make your plans to see it on April 8.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2024, 03:50 PM
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I'd rather find some native communities I could exploit during it.
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Old Jan 24th, 2024, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by NorthwestMale
Now we are 76 days away from Eclipse Day... hope many of you are doing all you can to get to the band of totality.


The difference between being within the band of totality and being not far outside of it... will be quite literally the difference between night, and day.


So now's the time to find some eclipse glasses (of the certified variety) and make your plans to see it on April 8.
Solo trip planned. I do have eclipse glasses left over from the dud annular eclipse we watched from Crater Lake NP.
Taking the California Zephyr east from Winnemucca NV to Galesburg IL. Renting a car in Galesburg and driving east to Columbus Ohio. There is a big geocaching event the weekend before next to the campus of Ohio State. On Monday I drive to either Waynesfield or Wapakoneta Ohio. The draw to Wapakoneta is that it was the hometown of Neil Armstrong. There will be a big event on the grounds of the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. I plan to find at least one geocache during the eclipse as I did in Oregon in 2017.
I plan on driving back to Indianapolis on Tuesday and finding a few more Indiana geocaches. On Wednesday, I return the rental in Galesburg and get back on the Zephyr back to Winnemucca.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 04:07 AM
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quote KathyK: K marie, I’m hearing Clarence and Akron are good viewing spots. Where are you staying in Williamsville?


KathyK, months ago I used Hilton points to secure our reservation at the Hampton Inn on Main Street. Good thing! The prices I’m seeing lately for Buffalo area hotels are mind-blowing!

For the eclipse, I was thinking that driving east toward would be best. Thanks for suggesting Clarence. Weather permitting, lakefront/Canalside would be fun but we are not willing to deal with the certain congestion on now unfamiliar streets. I would like to find an organized event. Events at both Knox Farm in East Aurora and Graycliff in Derby are sold out. I will check the info at Williamsville North high school; they have been hosting some educational events and, I think, some online videos about the eclipse.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 07:42 PM
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At this point in time it wouldn't be a wrong move to envision yourself perched the day before in a spot on the map from which you could drive in either of at least 2 directions toward the band of totality upon waking up on Eclipse day April 8.

B
eing singularly committed to just ONE locale make it such that CLOUDS are just sure to be hovering too close for comfort.


IF making plans this relatively late in the lead-up, a spot like Chicago may have plenty of rental cars at semi-reasonable prices, and from Chicago you could go south-ish or east-ish to reach the band of totality, depending upon which area is less likely to have clouds come eclipse time.


I have a vibe that to lean away from going to a BIG city (within the band of totality) for the eclipse is wise... because in most cases, you don't know the city, and don't know the tall buildings, and don't know which spots will find you obscured by buildings during the eclipse.

You can't even predict PEOPLE completely, so to reduce how many are around who don't give a darn about your eclipse experience might be wise.

To be in a small town is likely just fine, and it doesn't matter whether you're out on a patio having just ordered a pizza, or sitting on a hilltop poised and ready.

The magic event is going to happen for sure... so the main variable is "how much are YOU gonna get out of it when it does?"


Serious viewers and their many kids will almost all be in awe of the entire experience, and they tend to provide the best human environments for such an event.


Tiz best to have some options open to improvise on the morning of eclipse day.


LOL - I saw this week that ... Delta Airlines, is it ? plans a flight that will attempt to stay within the band of totality for some amount of time...

But the question is, who gets the good side of the plane, and who doesn't... ?

Can 200 or 300 people going from side-to-side to try to peek out tiny windows duplicate the effects of air turbulence
???


I think such a scheme needs work... though as secondary entertainment it could be nice to watch a steady video taken from the air of the shadow crossing the earth down below.

(* ideally someone ELSE does exactly that and then puts it on YouTube so you can see the spectacle a few days after you get back from your totality experience)


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Old Feb 23rd, 2024, 09:19 AM
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I saw a total eclipse once and I was not impressed. BORING.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2024, 09:25 AM
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Ymmv
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Old Feb 27th, 2024, 07:09 AM
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[QUOTE=NorthwestMale;17538033]At this point in time it wouldn't be a wrong move to envision yourself perched the day before in a spot on the map from which you could drive in either of at least 2 directions toward the band of totality upon waking up on Eclipse day April 8.

B
eing singularly committed to just ONE locale make it such that CLOUDS are just sure to be hovering too close for comfort.


IF making plans this relatively late in the lead-up, a spot like Chicago may have plenty of rental cars at semi-reasonable prices, and from Chicago you could go south-ish or east-ish to reach the band of totality, depending upon which area is less likely to have clouds come eclipse time.


I have a vibe that to lean away from going to a BIG city (within the band of totality) for the eclipse is wise... because in most cases, you don't know the city, and don't know the tall buildings, and don't know which spots will find you obscured by buildings during the eclipse.

You can't even predict PEOPLE completely, so to reduce how many are around who don't give a darn about your eclipse experience might be wise.

To be in a small town is likely just fine, and it doesn't matter whether you're out on a patio having just ordered a pizza, or sitting on a hilltop poised and ready.

The magic event is going to happen for sure... so the main variable is "how much are YOU gonna get out of it when it does?"


Serious viewers and their many kids will almost all be in awe of the entire experience, and they tend to provide the best human environments for such an event.


Tiz best to have some options open to improvise on the morning of eclipse day.


We are now down to less than six WEEKS from the eclipse. In August of 2017 I was on top of Sutton Mountain (NW of Mitchell) Oregon. I hiked for nearly an hour from where I parked to get there. Right after totality, I found a geocache up there that was hidden by one of my friends.
On April 2 I'm driving from home to Winnemucca NV and boarding the eastbound California Zephyr about 7PM. I'm riding the train all the way to Galesburg IL getting off about noon (CT) on 4/4. The current plan is to drive to an AirBnB in Lima OH. (It's pronounced LY-muh) despite what Al Roker said this morning. From there on April 5 I can change my plans depending on the current position of a front and cloud cover predictions. As it stands now I have another AirBnB reserved in Tonawanda NY within the zone of totality from 4/5 through the morning of 4/8 (eclipse day) Totality in Buffalo is after 3PM ET.
I am planning on meeting another geocacher and going to an event along the shore of the Niagara River in North Tonawanda.
I will be heading south from Cheektowaga about 5PM and hope to be at a hotel south of Cleveland OH by 10 PM if the traffic jam doesn't delay me.
I intend to find some more geocaches in Western NY including the "Eternal Flame" Earth Cache. Depending on the weather I may find some in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. I do have to get the car returned and get back on the train in Galesburg the afternoon of 4/11.
If the weather looks bad for western NY on 4/5 I can make an option to head southwest from Lima OH to as far as Arkansas or even northern Texas and still make it back to Galesburg on the 11th.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller
I just heard that Cedar Point amusement park near Sandusky Ohio will be at least partially open for the eclipse date. Let's hope that the shore of Lake Erie is cloud free when the eclipse happens. I am still considering being in Erie Pennsylvania then.
Plans have changed. The current plan involves being on the shore of the Niagara River south of the falls in North Tonawanda New York. If the weather dictates (cloudy/rainy) I could get back to Erie or even as far as Wapakoneta Ohio. Wapakoneta was the hometown of Neil Armstrong and there is an Air and Space Museum there. It is very close to the center line.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 08:59 AM
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IF all other things were equal, I would lean away from plotting to be on the shores of Lake Erie for the big event, just because of the threat of cloud cover (more likely near/over large bodies of water).

It's one thing to get there, in the moment, and learn of clouds elsewhere and then head toward (a giant shore) upon learning of clear local weather...

but quite another to TARGET such a spot from weeks in advance (accepting higher odds of clouds than would be the case with a different target area).


Meanwhile, less than 4 weeks until the big day.

IF YOU ARE STILL thinking of throwing together a last-minute plan... perhaps a flight to a large city OUTSIDE of the band of totality, and then a drive of, eh, up to 300 miles... be sure to aim for the center-ish of totality...

beyond that, TOTALITY of any duration is where it's at.


This old t-shirt still applies:


GetAssToTotality_tshirt_photo.jpg (247×327) (eclipse-chasers.com)



Resist the impulse to lounge about in the middle of some large city even though it is IN the band of totality.


You're likely to be monitoring the sun for a 3-hour window, with the precious minutes of totality in the middle of that window.

You don't know the buildings in a strange-to-you city, and you don't know where the sun travels across the sky in relation TO those buildings.

FIRST move is to secure ECLIPSE GLASSES from somewhere (hurry up and order if you want to take THAT chance).

Then envision an area free of tall obstructions, and find ways to pass perhaps 3 or more hours there or nearby.

It's OK to be near to (gasp) other people in this endeavor, but make CERTAIN that they too are Eclipse-minded. They will likely enhance your experience IF everybody is gaga over the same event.


Not long before the last eclipse, I read of the idea to set up one video camera perched on a high vantage point looking over lower landscape... and not pointed AT the sun, or AT the local celebration of the eclipse.

The purpose was merely to catch the shadow as it first approached, and then crossed over the landscape wherever you were.


You have to set the lighting on your contraption to NOT CORRECT for low-lighting... because you want to capture the shadows and darkness as they occur.

My effort this way in 2017, though completely amateurish, has as a bonus backdrop, the clearly audible ooooohs and awwwwwws of a large gathering responding by the second to the event in the sky.


* perhaps a good indication of whether you found just the right crowd with which to watch the eclipse will be a vast collection of state license plates (on cars) the likes of which you've seldom before seen in one spot.


The eclipse takes place well into the day on April 8... so there really is time to get whatever airfares you can, and make sure to secure a car rental reservation - as that's vital to most... before driving into the (overpriced) band of totality on the big day itself.

It's all up to you now, to create whatever experience you can from such a rare thing... and it really IS mind-boggling to contemplate as you look up there.

(and do not look away before the diamond ring ... which occurs upon the first GLINT of the SUN reappearing after having been fully blocked by the moon for 3 or 4 minutes)


Lastly, be sure to explain to the kids that THE SUN is 400 times the size of the moon... AND it is also 400 TIMES as far away... thus they look about the same size in our sky, and that's how they create these rare experiences for us on earth.


When the day is over, and your kids have to go back to school the next day, motivate them to pay attention in math, because it is for reasons all relating to math that we can tell in advance just when these rare events will take place.

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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by PrairieHikerI
I saw a total eclipse once and I was not impressed. BORING.

Love that this person cleverly leaves out the important factor of a total eclipse of WHAT, exactly ???


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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 05:00 PM
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NYTimes Wirecutter has some suggestions for safely viewing the eclipse.

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/r...solar-eclipse/

And from space.com, tips on photography—

https://www.space.com/how-to-photograph-a-solar-eclipse

We will be in the Buffalo area and have tickets for an eclipse viewing event south of the city, on the lakeshore. We plan to meet friends and family over the weekend and will be ready to adjust our Monday target in search of clear skies.

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