The date is getting closer to see the Solar Eclipse, the first eclipse that will be visible across the entire US in 99 years. For most of us, this one will be a once in a lifetime experience. It is logical that millions of people will take advantage of the opportunity, but planning will be essential. The area of total 100% eclipse goes across the country, and everyone in the US will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. We are planning to travel just an hour to get into the total zone. Last weekend we did a trial run to scope out the area, locate bathrooms and figure out parking options anticipating that there will be a lot of people with the same idea.
Discussing the day, we have made lists of things to do and take for this spectacular day. I started a bag of things to take, adding to it as I think of things. Research on other sites gave me some ideas as well, such as taking a white towel to cover the camera so it won’t get as hot being in the sun for hours. At this point, I think I have everything we might need for a day, and here is our list of essentials.
Sunscreen – Bug Spray – Special Eclipse Viewing Glasses – hat
Paper Towels – A roll of Toilet Paper (anticipating that will be the first thing to run out)
Cooler with food, water, ice and snacks to last the whole day
Folding Chairs – umbrella – canvas drop cloth and a quilt to lay on
Camera – Solar Filter – tripod – white towel to cover the camera to keep it cooler – extra memory card, extra battery
Books to read, and tunes to pass the time.
We got our glasses and camera filter at GreatAmericanEclipse.com, which also has a tremendous amount of information on the eclipse. Please do not try to observe any of the partial eclipse with your naked eye, even a 99% eclipse still has enough brightness to damage your eyes or camera lenses. Regular sunglasses are not enough. When you put on the solar glasses, they are so dark that you cannot see anything through them under normal light, but look directly at the sun through the glasses, and you can see the sun. The camera filter does the same thing.
It is recommended that you take pictures of the sun ahead of the big day so you are confident of the camera settings using the very dark filter. So, we have been doing just that. DH took this one as our first attempt.
This is a picture of the sun through the trees. The camera wants to focus on the trees so it comes out blurred, but the outline of the sun is visible.
Forcing the focus to the brighter area, it decreases the light but the edge is now obscured by the trees.
I did find that focusing on the edge of the sun gave a sharper line and amazingly a nice gradient color to the sun.
If you are interested in the history of eclipses, the NASA website has a lot of interesting information, including interactive maps and major events in history occurring with total eclipses in the past. Click on NASA Total Solar Eclipse. The main NASA webpage, Eclipse 2017, has activities, resources, printable pinhole viewers, and information on experiencing the eclipse this year. A day ahead, be sure to charge your camera battery (both of them), assemble your essentials, and get your snacks prepared. Here’s hoping the crowds aren’t too bad and are well behaved.
What are your plans for the eclipse?