I can’t wait to get on the road to shoot the Great American Eclipse!
The path of the moon’s shadow, where the total eclipse will be visible, goes right across the United States. If you’re not directly in that path a partial eclipse will be visible if you have proper viewing glasses that block the most harmful wavelengths of light. But people who have experienced totality say there’s nothing quite like it, and you should get to the path if you can.
So where should you go? Bear in mind that totality lasts 2-3 minutes, so if you have multiple routes to take, weather can be a consideration. The site GreatAmericanEclipse has suggested ten of the better spots across the country. They also have state by state maps showing the path of the eclipse across the country, with lines to show the approximate duration of totality depending upon where in that path you are.
Sky and Telescope Magazine suggests a similar Top 10 Places to View the Solar Eclipse. Another map by Xavier Jubier has superimposed the path of the earth’s shadow on an interactive Google map in case you want to find a place a little less promoted.
Crowds are expected to be record-breaking along the path of the solar eclipse coming up August 21. Many areas are trying to implement temporary traffic control plans in the narrow path of the moon’s shadow. I hear that even porta-potty rentals are in short supply as communities try to cope with the crowds. Fortunately I’ll be bringing my own facilities with me!
You may thank that Jackson, Wyoming sounds like an attractive place to catch the eclipse, but the sun will be south, not west towards the Tetons when the eclipse peaks. The Jackson Hole Astronomy Club did extensive research with local meteorologists on data from the 2005 – 2015 and determined that just about anywhere else within a 3 mile driving radius had better odds of clear weather. I’ll be staying near there, but eclipse day is expected to be the busiest day ever for the area, so traffic jams and parking issues could seriously affect viewing plans, and I have plans to exit the area if the crowds look too daunting or the weather forecast turns bad.
If that all sounds like too much risk or hassle to be worth the trip, no problem, there’s a tool that can help you determine how much of an eclipse will be visible wherever you are on that day.