Everything You Need to Know About Watching the 2017 Solar Eclipse in Oregon
An amazing astronomical phenomenon is less than a month away. On August 21, 2017, people of Earth will have the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse, and it all starts in the state of Oregon. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of the total solar eclipse event, and to avoid hurting yourself while viewing the moon covering over the sun completely.
What a Solar Eclipse Is
A solar eclipse is an astronomical phenomenon where the moon blocks the path of the sun, causing darkness and a drop in temperature in the middle of the day. It is a sight to behold that only happens during certain conditions. The moon has to be close to the earth in a part of its orbit called a node, and the sun has to be perfectly lined up behind it.
When this happens, if you are in the right spot, you will witness a total solar eclipse, where the sun is entirely blotted out for a few minutes. Eclipses are not incredibly rare, but they are not frequent, and solar eclipses with the viewing possibilities inherent in August’s upcoming eclipse do not occur that often.
Why a Total Solar Eclipse is Such a Big Deal
Where to View the Solar Eclipse in Oregon
The area where you can best view a solar eclipse is called the “Band (or the ‘path’) of Totality.” For the Oregon solar eclipse, that’s a 60-mile area just north of Eugene and south of Portland, stretching across Oregon from Idaho to the coast. Cities in the path include Madras, OR, and Salem, OR.
Pretty much all the hotels and motels in Oregon in the Band of Totality are sold out, so you’ll need to either have a friend in the area, plan on camping, hope for a last-minute cancellation, or just figure on finding a spot the day of and heading home when it’s over.
When to View the Solar Eclipse in Oregon
On Monday, August 21st, at 9 A.M. local time, the partial eclipse will first be visible. Total eclipse will be visible between 10:15 and 10:25 depending on where you are located in the band.
How to View the Oregon Solar Eclipse
You probably know that looking directly at an eclipse can cause permanent eye damage, and regular sunglasses won’t cut it. You need special solar eclipse viewing glasses approved by the International Standards Organization (ISO). You can order these online, buy them from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or pick them up at many local Oregon retailers.
What about taking pictures? That’s safe, as long as you have your glasses on and a solar filter for your camera. When the eclipse reaches totality, if you are in the Band of Totality, you can remove the filters and view and take pictures directly for a brief time. Make sure you aren’t so busy taking pictures that you forget to view and appreciate the eclipse directly, though.
Oregon Solar Fest
The people of Oregon aren’t taking this eclipse lightly. In fact, they’re making a real event out of it, with a music festival in partnership with NASA and Total Eclipse. There will be music, camping, art and of course, great eclipse viewing! You can find out more at OregonSolarFest.com.