07
Aug-2017

The Number One Place to See the Great American Eclipse

Totality On The Oregon Coast

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On August 21st 2017, residents and visitors to the Central Oregon Coast will experience the first landfall of the Great American Eclipse directly in the path of totality.  On this day, the moon will be positioned between the sun and the earth and as the moon appears to move across the face of the sun, its shadow will pass along a narrow path on the Earth.  This can only happen when the new moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. If you are wanting to see the total eclipse, you will need to be in this path.  The longest period will be within the path of totality.

The eclipse starts in the Pacific Ocean and will hit first landfall near Depoe Bay, Oregon at 9:04 am.  Depoe Bay is a little coast town about ten minutes South of Lincoln City.  In this location, the totality of the eclipse can be viewed the longest, at a full two minutes long. Totality will first hit Oregon around 10:15 am Pacific time.  People are expected to come from all over the world on an eclipse-chasing adventure, in an attempt to capture a rare glimpse into what our universe holds.  Daylight will turn into darkness, from Oregon to South Carolina, along a 60 to 70 mile wide path.  The path of totality will swiftly pass over Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee grazing corners of Kansas, Georgia, North Carolina and a tip of Iowa.  At 2:49 pm Eastern time, South Carolina will experience the final moments of complete darkness.

Where to stay on the Oregon Coast

Some people are really going all out for this.  In Lincoln City, some people are renting out their homes for $3,000-$5,000 a night with four night minimums.  Camping spots are costing anywhere from $100-$1,000 a night.  Hotel rooms are averaging $800 per night with two-four night minimums.  This is such a rare event, that many are sparing no cost. Here on the Oregon Coast, they’re expecting an additional 100,000 spectators in the Lincoln City area alone.  Camping will be allowed in places that are normally off limits, people are even renting out yard space for camping.   If you still want to be on the coast for the eclipse, prepare to camp and get there a few days to a week early.  The state parks normally have “first come, first serve” camping, but due to the demand, they will temporarily be reservation only spots.  To keep our beautiful state clean, please remember Oregon’s saying, “leave no trace.”  If you pack it in, pack it out and be sure that you are not trespassing.

What you need to know about the Eclipse 

In the midst of all of this, there are some things to consider, like weather and traffic.  Many spectators are hoping that clouds and fog will not block the sun.  The good news is, meteorologists are predicting that Oregon will have the best weather conditions along the path of totality.  Eastern Oregon to Western Nebraska has the driest climate in the eclipse path, but even the driest areas on Earth experience fog, clouds, and even rain.  Check out the online eclipse weather map here.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is calling this “the biggest traffic event in Oregon history” and are expecting a million visitors coming into Oregon for the eclipse. They are urging people to go early and leave late as roads are expected to be very congested and, most likely, at a stand still the morning of the eclipse.  You won’t want to be stuck in traffic at the moment it happens, so you’ll want to plan ahead.  You will want to check road conditions here and by calling 511.  You might want to bring a map, the increase of cell phone usage will overload cell phone towers and make connections more difficult.  Know where you’re going, and don’t expect to rely on your phone or online maps. You can order a highway map online at TravelOregon.com.

things to keep in mind

With the many wildfires happening in Washington right now, it is a good reminder that August is peak wildfire season in Oregon, so please be diligent about extinguishing and disposing cigarettes. Know fire risks and respect fire restrictions, including campfire bans.  Avoid parking or driving on dry grass, as your vehicle can start a wildfire.

Most importantly, don’t forget to get your eclipse viewing glasses early.  You don’t want be stuck without them when the big moment arrives.  It’s expected that they will sell out quickly as eclipse-seeking populations move into viewing areas.  You shouldn’t have to spend more than a couple dollars, the paper ones work just fine as long as they are certified.  The moment before and after totality is very harmful to our eyes, viewing even a small sliver of the sun can damage retinas.  Sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.  To view any eclipse safely, use approved filters or use an indirect method of viewing, such as projecting sunlight through a telescope and onto a white piece of paper or cardboard.  NEVER look at the Sun through a telescope unless it has the appropriate filter, including just before and after totality.  Blindness and severe eye damage can result due to improper observation technique.

THE FOUR TYPES OF ECLIPSEs:

Depending on your location and on the specific geometry of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, you may experience one of four types of solar eclipses; total, partial, annular and hybrid.

A TOTAL ECLIPSE happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, completely blocking the sun.  Only the Sun’s outer atmosphere can be seen during a total solar eclipse.  Typically, the planets and brighter stars can be seen during a total eclipse.  It is not uncommon for an animal’s behavior to change.  As darkness falls, air temperatures will noticeably drop and a strange feeling will be in the air.  Totality typically lasts less than three minutes and no longer than seven and a half minutes.

Solar eclipse at the point of totality

This image shows the Aug. 1, 2008, solar eclipse at the point of totality. The moon completely blocks out the body of the sun, revealing the normally hidden, halo-like corona. Image Credit: The Exploratorium

A PARTIAL ECLIPSE occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun but not directly over the center and only a portion of the Sun’s disk is obscured.  A partial solar eclipse occurs when Earth moves through the lunar penumbra (the lighter part of the Moon’s shadow) as the Moon moves between Earth and the Sun. The Moon does not block the entire solar disk, as seen from Earth.  Depending on your location during a partial eclipse, you might see anything from a small sliver of the Sun being blotted out to a nearly total eclipse.

Solar Eclipse, Sun, Moon, Astronomy, Solar, Eclipse

AN ANNULAR ECLIPSE occurs when the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun but, because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical and so is sometimes closer and sometimes further from Earth, it appears too small to fully cover the disk of the sun.  When the Moon is farther away in its orbit than usual, it appears too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk. A bright ring of sunlight shines around the Moon during such event.  This type of eclipse is a called an “annular” eclipse.  It comes from the Latin word “annulus” which means “ring.” The period of annularity during such an eclipse can last anywhere from 5 or 6 minutes and up to 12 minutes.  However, even though the Sun is mostly covered by the Moon, enough sunlight shows during annularity that observers cannot look at the Sun directly at any time.  Eye protection throughout the entire eclipse is required for this type of event.

Here, a bright ring called the “ring of fire” appears around the dark disk of the moon.

AN ANNULAR ECLIPSE occurs when the moon passes dead center in front of the sun

Image of an Annular Solar Eclipse as seen from the Japanese Hinode Satellite. Image Credit: Hinode/XRT

A HYBRID ECLIPSE is a combination of an annular and total eclipse.  It begins as one type and ends as another.

Here are some helpful links:

Watch a live stream of the eclipse here!

For road conditions, click here.

Check out the online eclipse weather map here.

For updates on camping and more useful resources, here is the website for Oregon State Parks.

Here is a link for camping maps.

If you’d like some great tips for eclipse viewing check this out.

Important solar eclipses in history can be found here.

Here are some fun, sun science activities for kids.

Eclipse Fun Facts:

  • Totality occurs when the Moon completely obscures Sun so only the solar corona is showing.
  • The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes.
  • If any planets are in the sky at the time of a total solar eclipse, they can be seen as points of light.
  • The speed of the Moon as it moves across the Sun is approximately 2,250 km (1,398 miles) per hour.
  • Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days – known as the Saros Cycle.
  • This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years.  The last one occurred February 26, 1979.  Unfortunately, not many people saw it because it clipped just five states in the Northwest and the weather for the most part was not favorable.  The last one before that was on March 7, 1970.
  • Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse.  In fact, if you have clear skies on eclipse day, you will see the Moon cover at least 48 percent of the Sun’s surface.

Here is a list of eclipse times for cities in Oregon:

City, Oregon Start of Totality (local time) Duration of Totality (min:sec)
Depoe Bay 10:15:56 AM PDT 1:58
Newport 10:15:56 AM PDT 1:45
Lincoln Beach 10:15:58 AM PDT 1:59
Lincoln City 10:16:07 AM PDT 1:55
Falls City 10:16:45 AM PDT 1:59
Corvallis 10:16:56 AM PDT 1:40
Dallas 10:16:57 AM PDT 1:57
Monmouth 10:16:59 AM PDT 2:00
Independence 10:17:03 AM PDT 2:00
Rickreall 10:17:04 AM PDT 1:56
Albany 10:17:05 AM PDT 1:51
Sheridan 10:17:10 AM PDT 1:33
Turner 10:17:20 AM PDT 2:00
Salem 10:17:21 AM PDT 1:54
Lebanon 10:17:23 AM PDT 1:38
Scio 10:17:24 AM PDT 1:58
Keizer 10:17:26 AM PDT 1:49
Amity 10:17:27 AM PDT 1:28
Stayton 10:17:31 AM PDT 2:01
Sublimity 10:17:32 AM PDT 2:00
Silverton 10:17:46 AM PDT 1:46
McMinnville 10:17:48 AM PDT 0:55
Sweet Home 10:17:51 AM PDT 1:00
Woodburn 10:18:01 AM PDT 1:16
Detroit 10:18:18 AM PDT 2:02
Warm Springs 10:19:29 AM PDT 2:02
Culver 10:19:30 AM PDT 1:53
Sisters 10:19:34 AM PDT 0:33
Madras 10:19:36 AM PDT 2:02
Terrebonne 10:19:44 AM PDT 1:18
Redmond 10:20:02 AM PDT 0:38
Prineville 10:20:16 AM PDT 1:06
Mitchell 10:20:53 AM PDT 2:03
Fossil 10:21:23 AM PDT 1:20
Kimberly 10:21:44 AM PDT 1:58
John Day 10:22:31 AM PDT 2:01
Prairie City 10:22:50 AM PDT 2:06
Seneca 10:22:55 AM PDT 0:53
Unity 10:23:34 AM PDT 2:07
Baker City 10:24:30 AM PDT 1:35
Ontario 11:25:33 AM MDT 1:26

Eclipse data courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, from eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov. Note that times and durations can vary widely even within the same city and some cities are located only partially within the path of totality.  All times and durations shown on this page are only representative samples and should be used for general comparison purposes only. To determine the precise start time, end time, and duration of totality for your exact location on eclipse day, use NASA’s interactive Google eclipse map.

Eclipse times for cities in the path of totality:

Example of eclipse times for cities in the path of totality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a video of a total solar eclipse in Svalbard 2015:

 

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