Solar Eclipse 2017

by Wendy on May 18, 2017

written by Rob Lafferty  /  photos and graphics courtesy of NASA

If you’ve been on another planet for the past year, you might not know there’s a total solar eclipse coming to the Great Northwest this summer on August 21. A great many people have heard, however – and by the time you read this, almost every public and private camping location within the shadow track of the eclipse will have been reserved.

That’s because Oregon will be the point of first contact in North America for the path of the moon’s shadow as it crosses between the Earth and the Sun. The central Willamette Valley becomes an ideal location for eclipse trackers to view this rare and spectacular celestial event. People from all over the United States and overseas were waiting to book sites as soon as they became available.

The eclipse will begin at 9 a.m. and last through 11:30 a.m., Pacific Time. A 60-mile wide path of totality – when the moon completely blocks the sun – will begin at approximately 10:15 a.m. and last for about 2 minutes. It first touches the Oregon coast between Newport and Lincoln City, then sweeps eastward across Oregon and on to Idaho and the rest of the country before leaving the continent at the South Carolina coastline.

Anyone within the path of totality will be able see the sun’s corona as it forms a fiery fringe surrounding the moon. Observers standing outside that specific track path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.

Outside the path of totality, you’ll see the chromosphere – a thin band of deep, beautiful red hugging the sun. The sky will darken and everything will seem sharper and clearer.

All Oregon state park sites in the shadow zone are fully booked for the nights of Aug. 18-20. There are plans to add 1,000 additional campsites for reservation; for more information, go to

Campers may be able to find a spot in a parking lot or field at a day-use-only park, but there will be no hookups or shower facilities, and perhaps not even fire pits or picnic tables. Some day-use state parks also lack flush toilets, although portable toilets are being added where possible.

Aside from the state parks there are numerous city, county, federal, and private campsites across the state, but there is little or no chance of getting a space in those places unless you already hold a reservation.

Transportation officials are predicting unprecedented traffic and crowds the weekend of the eclipse. Traffic may be at a standstill on all major highways and freeways the morning of Aug. 21. It may be impossible to drive into the path of totality that morning.

Eye Safety During A Total Solar Eclipse
It is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse, you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun, or use an alternate, indirect method to watch the event. This also applies during a total eclipse, right up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.

During the short time when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the sun, but it’s crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses.


Additional links for information about the 2017 Solar eclipse:


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