Finally, the moment is upon us. The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 will soon stretch its 62-mile path across the earth, a rare celestial event that won’t happen again in Oregon until 2108. Whether you’re a serious astronomy geek or an everyday lover of the outdoors, the two minutes of mid-morning darkness will be breathtaking.
Here are five things you need to know about this once-in-a-lifetime event, according to Jim Todd, director of science education programs at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry:
You must use eclipse glasses.
If you plan to look up at the sky at all, you must wear certified eclipse glasses with the ISO or CE mark on them. Purchase your pair with Oregon State Parks. Sunglasses will not properly protect your eyes. “It’s really imperative you don’t look at the sun directly with your eyes [without eclipse glasses],” to avoid permanent damage to your retinas from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, says OMSI’s Jim Todd. Wear the glasses for the 2.5 hours before and after the two minutes of totality, according to Todd. Only during the moment of totality can you take it off. Time it to be safe. Always supervise children using looking up at the sky. When you do remove your glasses, turn away — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
Stock up like you’re preparing for a snow day.
Highways, shops and visitor destinations will be crowded — very crowded. Stock up on gas, food and supplies as if it’s a snow day, because you may not be able to get out and about the day before, during and after the Aug. 21 event. If you are traveling to view the eclipse, go early and leave later. Be patient in traffic and carry water, supplies and a printed highway map with you — don’t rely on your cell phone or GPS. For tips on extending your trip (and other resource information), pick up Travel Oregon’s free Eclipse Guide, available at state welcome centers for a limited time.
You can enjoy the eclipse in Portland, Eugene or Bend.
If you live in a city outside the path of totality and don’t have plans for the eclipse, fear not: Many cities will still be able to experience about 99 percent of the event. So get out the lawn chairs and throw your own party (with eclipse glasses for all). If you are seeing the partial eclipse, you need to keep your glasses on the entire time because the 1 percent of sun can damage your eyes. The sky will darken as if it’s overcast, and you’ll see the silhouette of the moon covering the sun with a glow of sunlight at the top. You may see the bright sparkle of Venus.
Help us keep Oregon safe and beautiful.
We love Oregon, and you probably do too, so make sure to practice Leave No Trace ethics: leave sites as you found them, dispose of your waste responsibly, respect the wildlife and be considerate of other visitors. Be mindful of private property and make sure you are not trespassing. Know that August is peak wildfire season in Oregon, so be vigilant about extinguishing and disposing cigarettes, and respect campfire bans when in place. It’s also a great idea to pack large water containers to refill with tap water. Oregon’s water is some of the best in the world, so there’s no need to buy bottled water.
Start planning now for 2023.
There won’t be another total solar eclipse in Oregon for 154 years, but the next big astronomical event will come soon enough. On Oct. 14, 2023 — just six years away — the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun for an annular eclipse that will span parts of the U.S. Appearing like a ring of fire in the sky, the center line will be over Crater Lake National Park.