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ice1972

The August 21, 2017 Great American Eclipse

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Thinking the farther north and west you are, the less likely to encounter clouds and/or haze to decrease the drama. We'll be taking my daughter to college in OH and driving either from or to CO, so either I-80 in NE or I-70 in MO (totality covers its ENTIRE LENGTH in MO) are a good bet. It'll be around 1 PM CT... are PM thunderstorms a good bet in MO? NE tends to dry out a lot in August.

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Will be there, night of August 19th probably in Utah finishing up a few days of holidays, make a decision where to see it, find a remote campsite within 2-3 hours of track Sunday 20th, and hit the best view weather forecasting can provide (Monday August 21) at 10:22 a.m. PDT around Baker City OR or 11:32 MDT Rexburg ID (times approx). Other locations being considered range from Madras OR to Casper WY. Would avoid the Oregon coast even if skies clear, traffic congestion around Lincoln City OR is always a problem and with half of Portland there to see this, a no go zone. Would also not be leaving a location to the last minute near I-5 (Albany OR) as it could get very congested along the interstate.

Best bet for clear skies by climatology is the OR-ID border near Huntingdon OR (last exit in Oregon from I-84, 70 miles northwest Boise which is just outside the path, 70% chance). The good thing about a morning eclipse is, afternoon convection over the inland western valleys and ranges not yet underway and if a bit of that has started, the cooling effect of the eclipse will suppress it further. In Nebraska by the way, Grand Island is near the center line (2 min 30 sec totality) and that's right at 1:00 p.m. CDT. Casper WY is around 11:45 MDT and it's also right on the line. Nebraska chasers are probably going to be dealing with a frontal system somewhere in that state, would not be too fixed on one location and time (it moves very fast, takes about 15 minutes to cross each state). Definitely check the latest guidance morning of, and avoid obvious frontal cloud zones.

Saw a total eclipse in Virginia Beach in March 1970, awesome display, the diamond ring effect is stunning (at both ends of totality). Also quite awe-inspiring is the rapid descent into darkness and natural signs on display such as birds calling. Don't miss this one if you have a chance (but don't take my campsite). :)

Motels in the totality path and nearby are already fully booked and charging astronomical rates. Not sure how far outside the zone this now applies, a month ago the rates were holding near regular prices at 100 miles outside the zone (not a bad option given the late morning to afternoon timing). You need a plan where you camp outside the zone or cheap motel well outside the zone, and drive in to make it feasible. Helps if you live in that nearby stretch, I suppose worst case scenario would be to pull an all-nighter (from almost anywhere in the U.S.A.) and just be there, you'll get your sleep in a rest stop and then figure out the details of getting home again. 

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I've booked a place in eastern TN and plan to view from there. Hoping for decent weather, being August in the south the haze and humidity is always there. Close as I could pull off with work schedules and such. I got a really decent rate for the room, but I did this back in December before the 'buzz' really got started.

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I tried for the 1984 total eclipse in northern NC (something like late May, can't remember now) and got mega-clouded-out, pre-internet so not much chance of fine tuning but it was deadly overcast and raining everywhere along the track -- so that was interesting too, it gets extremely dark under cloud cover for two or three minutes. Anyway, saw the Blue Ridge parkway on that trip so not a total bust. (hoping to go 2 for 3 on this one)

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I will be back from my trip just the weekend before and will be flying in to Columbia, SC. I will be in the perfect spot to view this in my area. I plan on bringing along my mother and grandmother with me if they are up to the drive. I hope that the weather holds for this event. Praying for clear weather. 

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On 6/26/2017 at 2:45 AM, ice1972 said:

Really really want to chase this one....thinking gonna target Nashville....anybody in?

I'm booked.  I waited too long so paying ridiculously high hotel rate but going on 71 I'm not waiting and banking on being around in good shape for 2024.

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12 minutes ago, weathafella said:

I'm booked.  I waited too long so paying ridiculously high hotel rate but going on 71 I'm not waiting and banking on being around in good shape for 2024.

Did you look for a hotel outside the path of totality?  I was able to get one for a reasonable/normal rate about a mile outside the zone (near St. Louis).  Like you said, a lot of stuff in the path is a higher price/already booked.

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4 hours ago, Hoosier said:

Did you look for a hotel outside the path of totality?  I was able to get one for a reasonable/normal rate about a mile outside the zone (near St. Louis).  Like you said, a lot of stuff in the path is a higher price/already booked.

Plenty of rooms just outside totality but I want to go close to the center line.  I thInk the roads are going to be clogged so I just didn't want to risk getting caught in traffic.  So if the road to Gallitin is too crowded I know I can watch it from the hotel I'm in near BNA which based off of memory is kind of in a higher area.   Nashville has just under 2 minutes of totality while Gallitin is 2 minutes and 40 seconds..

 

Im paying $280/ night for a Residence Inn-last room I could find.

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18 minutes ago, weathafella said:

Plenty of rooms just outside totality but I want to go close to the center line.  I thInk the roads are going to be clogged so I just didn't want to risk getting caught in traffic.  So if the road to Gallitin is too crowded I know I can watch it from the hotel I'm in near BNA which based off of memory is kind of in a higher area.   Nashville has just under 2 minutes of totality while Gallitin is 2'40".

 

Im paying $280/ night for a Residence Inn-last room I could find.

I'll admit the traffic has me concerned.  It's the big question as we've never had something like this in the US in modern times with so much of the population being within driving distance of totality. Originally, I got my room near STL just in case the weather was looking bad in the MO/KY/IL area and I'd have to drive out to Kansas/Nebraska on the morning of the 21st, but I'm wondering if I should just head down the day before no matter what. With normal traffic, I could leave my house and get into the eastern MO/IL/western KY portion in about 5-6 hours, but it won't be normal.  

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For those planning on watching from Missouri keep in mind that MoDOT is warning motorists that there could be "massive" traffic problems. That was the word they used. 

Also, there are still some decent rooms available in the St. Louis metro area that are actually in the path. For example, hotels.com says there are rooms at I-270/I-44 for very reasonable rates. This is a very affluent area with lots of restaurants. And you'll get at least 90s of totality without even leaving the hotel parking lot. Elsewhere outside of the path availability is plentiful in STL.

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Booked to Nashville. Staying in a motel just east of the city (~ 2 min totality), and figure I'll either see it from the motel (if traffic is horrendous) or drive several hours before and wait north of the city (~2:40 totality).

Potentially once-in-a-lifetime bucket list item. And when will this happen again in such easy travel... 1:30pm in the afternoon... in August...

Jerry I'm happy to hear you're doing this. Hope we get clear skies. People describe this as pretty divine.

Anyone have tips on how to experience it? I'm thinking tips like positioning away from street-lights that might go on automatically.

What to capture? Photos? Movie of the entire thing?

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Most of the eclipse sites, including Great American Eclipse, Eclipse2017.org and NASA, recommend not fumbling around with cameras and equipment. Even with practice 'dry runs' the total eclipse time is too short and precious. Still risk missing it. Plus professionals and media will get pictures. Finally, we will remember it better just watching from the corona to the sunset/rise on all of the horizons. 

From personal experience I remember best events I did not photograph. Saw a nearly overhead Aurora (northern lights) in Jasper, Canada 25 years ago and I still remember it like last night. Couple brief tornadoes I failed to photograph are the ones I remember best in my mind. So, my only equipment will be ISO/CE eclipse glasses and a shadowbox/pinhole viewer.

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2 hours ago, nrgjeff said:

Most of the eclipse sites, including Great American Eclipse and NASA, recommend not fumbling around with cameras and equipment. Even with practice 'dry runs' the total eclipse time is too short and precious. Still risk missing it. Plus professionals and media will get pictures. Finally, we will remember it better just watching from the corona to the sunset/rise on all of the horizons. 

From personal experience I remember best events I did not photograph. Saw a nearly overhead Aurora (northern lights) in Jasper, Canada 25 years ago and I still remember it like last night. Couple brief tornadoes I failed to photograph are the ones I remember best in my mind. So, my only equipment will be ISO/CE eclipse glasses and a shadowbox/pinhole viewer.

That's good advice for most but even though this will hopefully be my first TSE, photography will be a big part of the day for me. I work as a photographer so I'm intimately familiar with my camera gear and can operate it in the dark or under pressure, etc. I plan to have three cameras set up – one mounted to a telescope for close-up views, one with a 300mm telephoto lens for imaging the outer corona, and one with a wide-angle lens to capture the scenery at totality (this one might get axed depending on my viewing site. Hotel parking lot? meh.) With semi-automation and remote shutter releases, it'll be doable. I'm positive that not every shot will be a success... my biggest goal is merely to learn as many lessons as possible so I'm better prepared for future eclipses.

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On 7/26/2017 at 6:03 PM, Juliancolton said:

That's good advice for most but even though this will hopefully be my first TSE, photography will be a big part of the day for me. I work as a photographer so I'm intimately familiar with my camera gear and can operate it in the dark or under pressure, etc. I plan to have three cameras set up – one mounted to a telescope for close-up views, one with a 300mm telephoto lens for imaging the outer corona, and one with a wide-angle lens to capture the scenery at totality (this one might get axed depending on my viewing site. Hotel parking lot? meh.) With semi-automation and remote shutter releases, it'll be doable. I'm positive that not every shot will be a success... my biggest goal is merely to learn as many lessons as possible so I'm better prepared for future eclipses.

You can automate the cameras on tripods and let them do all the work while you view it :) I assume you have solar filters on your lenses and such?

Don't forget we have another total solar eclipse coming up in April 2024 in Buffalo/Erie!

And we have the Perseid meteor shower the week before the eclipse too!

 

 

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Couple of comments as someone that has seen a total solar eclipse.  Watched from the beach in Aruba in Feb 1998.  Amazing, stunning, awe struck experience.  Something to tell the grandkids.  The 2 or 3 minutes go by so fast.  I know people want to take pictures/videos etc. but enjoy the eclipse.  Watching the sun is absolutely amazing but also watching the environment.  The curtain of darkness descend and then pass by.  The weird color of any clouds around.  There will be endless pictures and videos for download and watching.  Be in the moment and don't spend precious seconds trying to adjust cameras and settings to the rapidly changing light conditions.

Of course once the diamond ring has passed you can look up.  Even take binoculars to look closely at the sun.  Bailey's beads.  Seeing the sun through the valleys and hills on the moon.  So neat.

It was really fun watching the eclipse with thousand of others.  Like I posted before, people literally crying it was so beautiful.  I was thinking about this eclipse.  It's like eating dog food your whole life and never tasting anything else.  Then someone trying to explaining to you how good a 5 star meal at a restaurant would taste like.  You could imagine but would have no conceptual concept because you have never experienced something like it.  That is how totality is.

Here is a short video of the eclipse I saw.    Turn the sound up and listen to the people and there comments as the eclipse happens!

 

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Wow, that's amazing!  I wanted to ask a question of those who have seen a total solar eclipse.  Something I read about in The Farmers Almanac that stated that you have to see this in person, it can't be photographed.  They mentioned that during totality the air shimmers the way water does when you look down into a swimming pool on a sunny day.  Is this true?  And why can't this effect be photographed?  And can you see stars during the day time during totality?  And the wind picks up, animals/birds go silent, and there is a noticeable drop in temperature.

 

 

 

 

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Here it is

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/exploring-shadow-bands

 

 

Exploring Shadow Bands

These mysterious bands of shadow race across the landscape in the seconds before totality. Scientists still don’t fully understand what they are. You can study them yourselves by taking measurements and photographs and come up with your own hypothesis.

Shadow bands are thin wavy lines of alternating light and dark that can be seen moving and undulating in parallel on plain-coloured surfaces immediately before and after a total solar eclipse. Shadow bands have been noted throughout history.

In the 9th century CE, shadow bands during a total solar eclipse are described for the first time-in the Völuspá, part of the old Icelandic poetic edda. Hermann Goldschmidt of Germany notes shadow bands in 1820 visible just before and after totality at some eclipses. George B. Airy, the English astronomer royal, saw his first total eclipse of the sun in 1842. He recalled shadow bands as one of the highlights: "As the totality approached, a strange fluctuation of light was seen upon the walls and the ground, so striking that in some places children ran after it and tried to catch it with their hands"

 

 

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3 hours ago, Paragon said:

Wow, that's amazing!  I wanted to ask a question of those who have seen a total solar eclipse.  Something I read about in The Farmers Almanac that stated that you have to see this in person, it can't be photographed.  They mentioned that during totality the air shimmers the way water does when you look down into a swimming pool on a sunny day.  Is this true?  And why can't this effect be photographed?  And can you see stars during the day time during totality?  And the wind picks up, animals/birds go silent, and there is a noticeable drop in temperature.

 

 

 

 

Okay,  I'm a photographer and weather enthusiast.  60 years old.  I have seen 4 solar eclipses.  2 partials.  1 annular.  One FANTASTIC solar that blows everything else out of the water.   Sure you can photograph it.  Lighting conditions change rapidly.  Really need a telephoto lens.  If you are lucky enough to view this eclipse don't bother with the cameras and photography.  There will be so many  photos, videos of this that unless you need to take some pictures to prove you were there,  just enjoy the 2 minutes.  Every second that your playing with a lens or looking through a camera viewfinder is  a second lost.  Enjoy the rapidly changing conditions and not only as to what is happening on the sun but also what is happening all around the sky. 

I don't remember any air shimmering when I saw mine.  What was fascinating was watching the wall of darkness descend so quickly and then leave so quickly.  As far as your star question it will get dark enough to see 4 planets and a few brighter stars.  Each eclipse is different.  When the moon is closer to the sun the eclipse is longer and the path wider.  So if your near the centerline it is darker than an eclipse that is shorter.  Hence, more stars and planets.  This eclipse is not a particularly long eclipse so its will not be very dark.  The areas near the horizon will be well lit so its more like kinda late evening with the sky still having some brightness.  If you are on the edge of totality then the sky is even brighter.  Weatherwise, it depends on the time of day that you are viewing the eclipse.  For instance if you are watching from Oregon at 10am the temperature is not going to drop very much because its morning anyhow and the atmosphere has not had time to warm.  Probably watching from South Carolina in the afternoon would be a different story.  I didn't notice anything about wind or changes when I watched.   I have heard lots about animals.  The resort we stayed at had parrots and tropical birds.  The birds were in cages around the property.  I'm no bird expert but I had noticed in the days before the eclipse that the staff rolled in the cages before nightfall.  Of course no one thought of this and the parrots were screeching.  I could hear them from the beach.  They did not like what was happening.

Oh, one more thing.  Bring binoculars.  Be very careful to wait until complete totality and make sure you put them down before any sunlight at end but a close look at the sun is fantastic if you do it carefully.

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5 minutes ago, wxeyeNH said:

Okay,  I'm a photographer and weather enthusiast.  60 years old.  I have seen 4 solar eclipses.  2 partials.  1 annular.  One FANTASTIC solar that blows everything else out of the water.   Sure you can photograph it.  Lighting conditions change rapidly.  Really need a telephoto lens.  If you are lucky enough to view this eclipse don't bother with the cameras and photography.  There will be so many  photos, videos of this that unless you need to take some pictures to prove you were there,  just enjoy the 2 minutes.  Every second that your playing with a lens or looking through a camera viewfinder is  a second lost.  Enjoy the rapidly changing conditions and not only as to what is happening on the sun but also what is happening all around the sky. 

I don't remember any air shimmering when I saw mine.  What was fascinating was watching the wall of darkness descend so quickly and then leave so quickly.  As far as your star question it will get dark enough to see 4 planets and a few brighter stars.  Each eclipse is different.  When the moon is closer to the sun the eclipse is longer and the path wider.  So if your near the centerline it is darker than an eclipse that is shorter.  Hence, more stars and planets.  This eclipse is not a particularly long eclipse so its will not be very dark.  The areas near the horizon will be well lit so its more like kinda late evening with the sky still having some brightness.  If you are on the edge of totality then the sky is even brighter.  Weatherwise, it depends on the time of day that you are viewing the eclipse.  For instance if you are watching from Oregon at 10am the temperature is not going to drop very much because its morning anyhow and the atmosphere has not had time to warm.  Probably watching from South Carolina in the afternoon would be a different story.  I didn't notice anything about wind or changes when I watched.   I have heard lots about animals.  The resort we stayed at had parrots and tropical birds.  The birds were in cages around the property.  I'm no bird expert but I had noticed in the days before the eclipse that the staff rolled in the cages before nightfall.  Of course no one thought of this and the parrots were screeching.  I could hear them from the beach.  They did not like what was happening.

Oh, one more thing.  Bring binoculars.  Be very careful to wait until complete totality and make sure you put them down before any sunlight at end but a close look at the sun is fantastic if you do it carefully.

Thanks, this is some great advice!  Which was the best eclipse you saw?  I have a nice old pair of 10x50's that I use for widefield stargazing that I want to use for this.  I have  different sized nylon solar filters I can use on camera lenses, binoculars or small telescopes too in case it becomes a necessity.

What's the maximum length totality can be?  I think I read somewhere that 7 minutes is the max.  I wonder if the 2024 eclipse will be like this too?

I found this about temps:

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/06/22/brrr-how-much-can-temperatures-drop-during-total-solar-eclipse.html

 

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2 hours ago, Juliancolton said:

You can record shadow bands, but they're so faint that they'd be imperceptible in a still photograph. The effect is mostly one of movement.

 

Julian, since the effect is one of movement perhaps to capture this it is best to shoot a video rather than a still.  Do you plan to do both videos and stills with your equipment to get the full effects?

 

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29 minutes ago, Paragon said:

Julian, since the effect is one of movement perhaps to capture this it is best to shoot a video rather than a still.  Do you plan to do both videos and stills with your equipment to get the full effects?

I may prop my phone up somewhere and shoot some quick video during totality for the sentimental value, but otherwise I plan to focus on still photography and just observing. That may change if I find myself stuck in dodgy wx and only get to see the fully eclipsed sun through breaks in the clouds, in which case it would make more sense to record just video and extract the clearest frames later... wouldn't want my eyes glued to viewfinders the whole time.

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59 minutes ago, Paragon said:

Thanks, this is some great advice!  Which was the best eclipse you saw?  I have a nice old pair of 10x50's that I use for widefield stargazing that I want to use for this.  I have  different sized nylon solar filters I can use on camera lenses, binoculars or small telescopes too in case it becomes a necessity.

What's the maximum length totality can be?  I think I read somewhere that 7 minutes is the max.  I wonder if the 2024 eclipse will be like this too?

I found this about temps:

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/06/22/brrr-how-much-can-temperatures-drop-during-total-solar-eclipse.html

 

The maximum duration of totality in the 2024 eclipse is just under 4 1/2 minutes, in Mexico.  Areas near the center line in the US will have totality lasting over 3 minutes to, in some cases, just over 4 minutes.

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Question for dtk or someone else with intimate knowledge of the models.  Does NWP make any attempt to account for the loss of incoming sunlight during an eclipse and thus, the temperature decrease that commences shortly before totality?  

I know that it's pretty common to have temperature drops on the order of 5-15 degrees depending on time of day and other factors.

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I was wondering the same thing about NWP models. Do they model the loss of solar irradiance? I'm assuming they don't but I'm prepared to be wrong if someone knows for sure that they do.

And yes, I read that a 5-15F drop is common. The temperature lags the irradiance by 15-30 minutes so the maximum effect will happen after totality.

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Some of the logistical problems to consider:

Main routes will become clogged with traffic and distracted drivers will add to the chaos. No doubt thousands of people will leave too late for the conditions, become stranded on the road rather than in a good place to view, and will get out of their vehicles when they think they must. This will not blend in well with the normal use of interstate highways as fast arteries for interstate commerce. 

Gas supplies may run low, especially in the 3-6 hours after the eclipse as everyone tries to gas up to go home. Try to plan your eclipse encounter so you are as full as possible just before you need to deploy. There could be long lines at gas stations even just before the eclipse as people think of gassing up then. My plan is to make a right-angle exit on the least travelled road I can find and get 200 miles from the track before needing to fill up. 

I think that unless you have a very secluded target, you should count on a lot of road congestion even on secondary routes, and keep in mind that it will be very dangerous driving with so many distracted people thinking mostly of where they should stop and where they should turn, etc. 

From what I'm hearing, avoid western Oregon, it sounds like it will be wall to wall with west coast travellers, the I-5 is a nasty road to drive even in average conditions and this won't be average. If it's hot in the west, as it has been all summer so far, the bottleneck effect will be made worse by overheated vehicles. 

I am hoping to find that east-central Oregon has a good forecast 36h before the event, and position myself in a remote area of that part of the track, then fine tune my location if mountain effect cloud can be anticipated and avoided. We get a lot of clear weather before noon in the Pacific northwest region so fingers crossed this day will follow the trend. 

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^ To add to that, do not rely on technology like the internet and GPS to get to your viewing location.  You never know if systems may be become overloaded.  I will be bringing a paper map with the totality duration lines overlaid.

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Planning my trip now......I'm late to the party a bit but I've got a high school friend that lives in Nashville so I've hit her up on FB.....either I crash with her or find a cheap ass place within driving distance of totality that I can get to in the morning.....he'll maybe even just drive there in the middle of the night given the expected traffic problems....I don't mind crashing in my car for a few if I have to.....

I know Fella is going to Nashville and maybe a few others here.....have you guys picked out secluded rural spots along centerline or are you just gonna stay at your hotel?

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