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An FYI to those of you who will be in the United States in October 2023 and April 2024. Here is an American Institute of Physics press release regarding a story in the journal The Physics Teacher on prepping for the two upcoming North American eclipses:

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2023 – This year and next, Americans will have the extraordinary opportunity to witness two solar eclipses as both will be visible throughout the continental U.S. On Oct. 14, 2023, the moon will obscure all but a small annulus of the sun, producing a “ring of fire” eclipse. On April 8, 2024, the eclipse will be total in a band stretching from Texas to Maine.

Both occurrences promise to be remarkable events and teachable moments. But preparation is essential.

In The Physics Teacher, co-published by AIP Publishing and the American Association of Physics Teachers, astronomer Douglas Duncan of the University of Colorado provides a practical playbook to help teachers, students, and the general public prepare for the eclipse events. He also shares ways to fundraise for schools and organizations and guidance for safe eclipse-viewing. The Fiske Planetarium, which Duncan used to direct, is also producing short videos about the upcoming eclipses.

“According to NASA surveys, over 100 million Americans watched the 2017 eclipse in person or via media,” said Duncan. “That was when a total eclipse crossed the U.S., with totality viewable in Wyoming, where Motel 6 rooms in the state were going for $800 a night if you didn’t book far in advance. A total eclipse is worth traveling to. It is incredible, and people remember it their whole life.”

A self-described eclipse-chaser who has himself witnessed 12 eclipses beginning in 1970, Duncan emphasizes the importance of eye protection. He cites two companies that produce inexpensive glasses for viewing the sun and advises event organizers to order them well in advance: Solar ‎Eclipse Glasses and Rainbow Symphony.

Additionally, after observing spectators at previous eclipses using their phones to snap pictures, Duncan developed Solar Snap, a filter and app to enable safe and effective smart phone photography for such events.

With small groups, Duncan suggests using binoculars to project an image of the sun so that viewers can safely observe the spectacle transposed onto a sheet of paper.

Duncan’s paper is, above all, a rallying cry.

“Organizing, spreading the word, and planning ahead will be key to making the most of these events,” said Duncan. “If you’re a student, talk to your teachers or principal. If you’re organizing a large viewing event, think about the various logistics. Much of the onus is on us – teachers, students, communities.”

Anyone have any good eclipse chasing stories to share? We drove over 600 miles (about 1 Mm for those of you who prefer those other kind of units) to get into the path of totality for the 2017 eclipse and it was well worth it, and we're planning on where we want to be for 2024. Order your eclipse glasses now because I remember they were very hard to get in the run up to the 2017 eclipse and there were some questionable ones being sold on Amazon.

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05 2023, @06:09AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05 2023, @06:09AM (#1309853)

    Hubie! Janrinok was just axing how the update on the Privacy Policy is going. He mentioned your name. Axing seems appropriate. Am I wrong, here?

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday June 05 2023, @05:36PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 05 2023, @05:36PM (#1309968) Journal

      Hubie isn't an admin - you are lying again.

      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Monday June 05 2023, @09:22AM

    by istartedi (123) on Monday June 05 2023, @09:22AM (#1309876) Journal

    I remember planning for 2017. My first thought was Idaho, near an Indian reservation. I actually called them well in advance, but they didn't start taking reservations (the other kind) more than a year ahead. By the time that rolled around, I had done a bit more thinking and decided that eastern Oregon was better, and found online that the school at Prairie City was renting camp sites.

    My first eclipse, and it all worked out quite well--met lots of interesting people, the drive wasn't as long and totality is *worth it*. If you've see a partial, forget about it. Totality is a whole new ball game.

    So for 2024, I had already taken Mexico off the table even though it's the optimal viewpoint. This is an even bigger problem now. These days, I'm even reluctant to visit Texas; but I'll probably go there. Eastern Oregon is actually quite conservative too, but I think the eclipse puts people in a different mood--also, nobody wants to piss off the tourists that are bringing boat loads of money in to town.

    Oh boy, if you're the spontaneous type you've got to set that aside for this. Planning, as a general rule, is going to help a lot. You will NOT get a motel room anywhere near totality, probably not even a month in advance, not for any reasonable price.

    I was quite happy that we were in a rural area, and not at one of the big festivals they had planned. Still though, it was quite a scene getting out. Everybody disperses almost immediately when the Sun comes back. One of those crazy memories is we were all blasting down the two-lane highways in the arid land, passing over the dashed lines to the point where it was almost a one-way road. Very few cars were coming in the opposite direction.

    I probably won't do that in Texas.

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