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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Planning for the Eclipse

When I was still in grade school in Portland during the 1950s, I became aware of the total solar eclipse coming in 1979.  It was no doubt shown in this Golden Guide to the Stars that I can't seem to find in my many boxes of books right now.

Unfortunately, I had moved from Portland, which was in the path of totality in 1979 and missed the grand show.

But now it is 2017, and Linda and I are not going to miss this year's show.  If you have not convinced yourself that you need to get to a cloudless location in the path of totality next week, perhaps this writer at Wired can help motivate you.
During a solar totality, animals usually fall silent. People howl and weep. Flames of nuclear fire visibly erupt like geysers from the sun’s edge. Shimmering dark lines cover the ground.

Or this description of the 1979 eclipse from Oregon Live.
"As the event began and the sky started to darken, a hush fell over the crowd. Everyone overcome by what was happening. As the moon completely blocked out the sun and the sky went black, the silence was complete: no birds sang or chirped, no words were spoken, although a collective gasp of appreciation of the power of nature filtered through the crowd. It literally gave us goosebumps."
 We have decided to watch from an area near Beatrice, Nebraska, a bit south of Lincoln.  Here is the path of totality through Nebraska.

 Why Beatrice?  Well, it is almost directly in the center of totality, it is only 150 miles from the nearest available motel room (I should have started looking much earlier!) it is on the list of 29 epic places to watch the eclipse and the nearby Homestead National Monument is planning special activities.

As a worst case, we can find a spot in the rural area if traffic gets too bad.

At this point, the weather forecast is looking very favorable.

If you are wondering about where the eclipse paths have been and will be over a 150 year period, I put together this composite map from the NASA website.

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