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The August 21 2017 total Solar Eclipse is only ten months away! It will be visible in the US from Oregon to South Carolina -- in a thin path only about 60 miles wide.

If you are wondering where to go to see it, scroll down to "Find Your Spot" on the toolkit link above -- and click on the Google Interactive Map to see the eclipse path, anywhere you click, you'll get the time and totality length.  In the west, totality can be seen only in a narrow path through Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming.  The maximum totality (minutes and seconds) reaches 2 minutes 40 seconds near St. Louis, less in the west and east of maximum. Here are some examples of totality length near the centerline in the western states:

1 minute 55 seconds in Salem -- Bend, Corvallis and Portland all will have a partial eclipse.

In Wyoming, Casper has 2 minutes 25 seconds,

In Idaho, Rexburg gets 2 minutes 17 seconds of totality, while Idaho Falls, 29 miles south gets only 1 minute 41 seconds.

Many hotels along the centerline are completely booked already.  We wanted to drive with our telescopes for dark sky observing at night, and so we'd have flexibility to dodge clouds on the day or day before the eclipse, and rented a trailer. We found an RV park just 12 miles north of Rexburg ID, very close to the centerline.  Our location will see 2 minutes 3 seconds of totality.

This RV park still had lots of spaces available (and restroom/showers and a store)

The rates for "Special Events" like 4th of July, Labor Day and eclipses increase double (to $70 per night) for our large space

On this map is the campground layout

We rented the end space in the end row, space 56 on the map above for 4 nights August 19-22.  We plan to join the Idaho Falls Astronomy Club at one or more of their dark sky star parties in the evenings before the eclipse, or possibly even set up in the RV space and share views with other campers, if the lights aren't too bad.

There will also be livestreamed events of the eclipse for the armchair sun worshipers, more on that as time nears. And here's what the partial solar eclipse will look like here in the LA area.


Jane Houston Jones
What's Up podcast August 2016: Perseids and Planets