Sunday, August 21, 2016

One Year From Today

The blue line across the middle represents the mid-line of the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. The shaded area around that line represents the area of totality, where the sun's disk will be completely obscured for a period of time as the moon passes in front of it. The closer an observer is to the mid-line, the longer the sun will be obscured.

I've been excited about this for years; I've never seen a total solar eclipse. I've seen partials that were total or annular elsewhere, but I've never been in the path of totality. For viewing, all I really need to do is be awake and standing in view of the sun, but I'd like to get to a decent elevation. I understand that if you're in a spot with a good east-west vista, you can see the shadow of the moon approaching and receding before and after totality. In Corvallis, the umbral speed will be 1.310 km/sec, or 2929 miles per hour-- which is to say, the fastest predictable thing I will ever see. This interactive map (from which the above screen shot was taken) is the best resource I've found for planning, with extensive details about the event. Simply click the crosshairs on a point of interest, and a table of data will pop up, telling you everything you could want to know about the eclipse at that position.

I have some ideas about where to watch it, but I hope to have opportunities to do some scouting between now and then. It may be that I can get up to the Santiam Pass area and do geology for much of the remainder of the day. In the end, I suspect I'll play it by ear. This time of year, fires and smoke can muddle an otherwise glorious view. However, the chance of rain- or even heavy clouds- in mid-late August is next to nil.


Michael said...

I'm hoping that it's far enough out of the way that it won't get too crowded, but the Painted Hills like smack in the middle of the path of totality. It's one of my favorite places in Oregon, and that's where I'm going to be.

Lockwood said...

I was considering that too, but my sister and her family are flying out and have local reservations, so where ever we end up, it needs to be within a short morning's drive. The central part of the state, though, should be quite spectacular. Great choice!