How to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse

Apollo 12 view of Solar Eclipse

Are you ready to see the first total solar eclipse to cross the whole United States in almost 100 years? I’m prepared for it, and it’s not too late for you to prepare too because I’ve hunted down a ton of helpful links for you! 

What is the Total Solar Eclipse?

On August 21, the moon, the sun, and Earth will align, and the moon will completely block the sun, sending the earth into darkness for up to 2 minutes and 41.6 seconds. This is the first total eclipse visible to Americans and 38 years, and the first to cross the United States coast-to-coast in nearly 100 years.

Where to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse

Here in Atlanta, we’re only 40-80 miles outside the eclipse’s path of totality. You can watch from a rooftop bar with a drink in hand or head to Fernbank Science Center’s viewing party and celebrate the museums 50th anniversary at the same time. If you want to try to get closer to the path of totality, head to the northeast corner of the state and set up camp in a Georgia State Park; Black Rock Mountain is the Georgia’s highest state park and puts you right in the center of the path.

Nashville is the largest city completely within the path of totality. This is where we’ll be, purely by happenstance, but it just gives us more of an excuse to take a day off work and stick around for the show. There’s no shortage of total eclipse parties in the Music City. The Adventure Science Center‘s indoor experience is sold out but the outdoor NASA Official Viewing Party is free and open to the public. And of course there’s plenty of music festivals all weekend, like the Howl At the Moon Indie Music Festival and the Total Eclipse at the Grand Ole Opry.

My Huntsville family gets a partial eclipse at 97%, so if you don’t want to make the drive to Nashville, you’ll still get a good view at home. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is celebrating with an All American Eclipse event that includes admission to the museum, a barbecue lunch plate, eclipse viewing glasses. UAH has a whole week of events leading up to the eclipse, including the Salmon Library Eclipse Viewing Party.

And even my old college town gets in on the fun too. Evansville, IN is right the edge outside the path of totality. The Evansville Museum is hosting a full weekend of eclipse-related events, including a viewing party. Many Evansville residents may be opting to travel the short distance to Hopkinsville, KY, which is dead center of the path of totality. Evansville will get another chance at totality though in the 2024 total eclipse.

Eclipse2017.org has a list of cities that are in and close to the path of totality, so check that out for your city. And this graphic from Great American Eclipse shows the path of totality and the major cities within it.

How to View the Total Eclipse Safely

  • Look at the eclipse only through certified Eclipse Viewing Glasses – the Solar Eclipse Across America site will tell you reputable vendors to buy from with glasses and filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. You can remove your solar glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun.
  • If the weather’s kind, we can have clear skies for eclipse viewing, so be prepared for a hot, sunny day in the sun staring up at the sky. Pack sunscreen and water.
  • Be prepared for crowds. Approximately 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the path of totality, and many cities are already booked full for visitors. Plan accordingly for crowds at viewing locations and traffic on the roads.

Cheers!

Paige

Where will you be viewing the total solar eclipse? Let me know in the comments!

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