Everything You Need to Know for the 2017 Solar Eclipse on August 21st
The 2017 Solar Eclipse is in 10 days! Here's everything you need to know. What: A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21st, 2017. The total solar eclipse will be visible in totality within a band across the entire contiguous United States. The previous time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8th, 1918 eclipse, so almost 100 years ago! A total eclipse occurs when the dark silhouette of the Moon completely obscures the intensely bright light of the Sun, allowing the much fainter solar corona to be visible.
Where: The total solar eclipse will begin across the contiguous United States in Oregon and then move across Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina. Here's a map of the band of locations that will experience 100% totality.
When: The total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21st, 2017. If you would like to know exactly when it will happen in your neighborhood, NASA has created an interactive map that lets you zoom in on your location and find out - down to a tenth of a second - when it will begin, when you'll see totality (the moment the moon moves completely in front of the sun), and when the eclipse will end. Just visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html
If you haven't already gotten a hotel or rented a vacation rental, you'll find that it might be difficult to find a room and prices might be expensive. Here in Boise, Idaho we are about an hour south of the path of totality, but hotel rooms are almost impossible to find. In fact only two hotels have rooms left for the night before the eclipse and room rates are going for between six hundred and one thousand dollars!
Tip: A lot of hotels in the path of totality, like the Super 8 in Rexburg, Idaho, are a part of a hotel loyalty system (in their case Wyndham rewards). While the Super 8 in Rexburg is charing $1,118 per night for a standard room, you can use 15,000 points for a free night! That means you would be getting an incredible points redemption and saving over a thousand dollars! So if you are booking a last minute room through a hotel chain, check and see if using hotel points is an option! And if you can't find a room to rent or a hotel room, many areas along the path of totality have great camping options (although some of these might already be full too). And if you are visiting Idaho, our guest bedroom is always available (at least for our close friends and family haha).
Other things you should consider if you are traveling to an area that will experience the total eclipse is traffic could be congested. The biggest concern is in more remote areas like the Oregon and Idaho mountains and smaller communities across Wyoming, Nebraska, Southern Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee as these areas just aren't equipped for the amount of people that will likely be visiting to experience the solar eclipse. So be sure to have plenty of supplies like food, a full tank of gas, a fully charged cell phone, bottled water, etc.
How to view the Eclipse
It's common sense not to stare directly at the sun with your naked eyes, and that's also true for a partially eclipsed sun. However, with special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can safely look at the sun. Safe viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers have certification (ISO 12312-2 international standard) and manufacturer information printed on them. Do not use filters that are scratched, punctured, or wrinkled. Do not use sunglasses because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun!
Weather for the Eclipse
While it is still ten days away, we are starting to watch the weather trends for August 21st. At this point it appears the greatest area at risk for some showery activity for the eclipse is across parts of the Southeastern and Southern United States. The weather trends should start to solidify over the next few days, so check back!
What are your plans for the eclipse? Share them with us in a comment and let us know if we can help answer any questions.