Is It Worth Traveling To See The Total Solar Eclipse?
On Aug. 21, 2017, for the first time in decades, a total solar eclipse will occur across the continental United States. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States in 38 years. That being the case, this is certainly a rare astronomical event you’re not going to want to miss. In fact, there won’t be another such occurrence in the U.S. until April 8, 2024. This remarkable event occurs when the moon completely blocks the sun, turning daylight into night, leaving the sun’s atmosphere momentarily visible.
The path of the total eclipse will be relatively thin, and it will sweep across portions of 14 U.S. states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. However, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in every U.S. state. To view the total solar eclipse, you must be in the path of totality.
You may be wondering … is it worth going to a location where you’re able to view the total solar eclipse rather than the partial?
According to Keith Spencer, editor-in-chief of The Bold Italic, “There’s an old saying in the eclipse-watching community: a partial eclipse is worth an hour’s drive to see. An annular eclipse is worth a day-trip. And a total solar eclipse is worth any and all effort it takes to witness it.” With that being said, this may be a great opportunity for a fairly inexpensive family vacation. NASA has information about locations for watching the total eclipse along with several events that will be taking place at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov.
The roughly 70-mile-wide path of totality enters the U.S. in Salem, Oregon and will continue through 13 more states before exiting the country in South Carolina. If you don’t live in one of these states, consider traveling to see the total eclipse. Because eclipse enthusiasts from around the world are expected to travel to the U.S., joining millions of Americans to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon, finding accommodations may be tough. The best plan of action is to pinpoint a location you would like to travel to in the path of totality, and make travel and accommodation arrangements as soon as possible. If this will mean more than a day trip for you, it may be easier and less expensive to plan your stay in a location that’s a day trip away from the path of totality and travel to view the eclipse on the day of the event.
There are hundreds of locations throughout the U.S. that are offering special eclipse-watching events. Many of these events include camping/lodging, music, food, various fun activities and are festival-like in nature. A good portion of these events have already sold out, but there are still some tickets available at various locations. Doing a Google search of eclipse events will bring up hundreds of event options to choose from. If you think you may be interested in attending one of these events, start calling around for availability.
You don’t necessarily need to attend a special event to enjoy the splendor of the eclipse, though. You may want to just pack the car, gather up your family and drive to a location of your choice to enjoy the eclipse on a beach, at a park or maybe at the home of a friend or relative that lives in the path of the total eclipse.
Your Turn: Do you have plans to see the solar eclipse during a special event? Share with us in the comments.