Eclipse coming: get your glasses now

I’m sure, if you’re in the U.S., you’ll know all about the eclipse next Monday, which reaches totality between 10:30 am and 3;30 pm, depending on where you are. If you want to see what the eclipse will look like from where you are (enter your ZIP code), go to this site. This is what we’ll see in Chicago, with the peak being at 1:18 pm. I’m fervently hoping that it’s not cloudy, even though the darkness will be fully perceptible in that case.

A Wired video about the eclipse:

Here’s NASA’s map of the path of totality, which shows Chicago getting about 87%%:

If you’re going to see it, and you should (there won’t be another total solar eclipse in the US until 2024, but go here to see all the worldwide total eclipses until 2067 (there are 32).

And NEVER look at the Sun during an eclipse—I’m serious. You can seriously damage your retinas. You can buy special eclipse glasses, which I’m wearing below, and if they’re good ones, they’ll completely occlude your vision unless you’re looking at the sun. Make sure the “ISO” symbol is on them, as that’s the important certification (I’m not sure what ISO actually stands for, but I’m sure a nice reader will tell us).  If you haven’t ordered them, Space.com says you can buy ISO certified glasses at these stores:

7-Eleven
Best Buy
Bi-Mart
Casey’s General Store
Circle K
HobbyTown
Kirkland’s
Kroger
London Drugs
Love’s Travel Stops
Lowe’s
Maverik
McDonald’s (Oregon only)
Pilot/Flying J
Toys R Us
Walmart

Have fun! Thanks to Casey for providing me with my glasses. 

 

What are your plans for watching it?

85 Comments

  1. yazikus
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty excited. We’ll get about 97% where I live, but I could drive a couple of hours to get to totality, if I didn’t think the roads would be a complete clusterfuck. The last eclipse I saw was in India in 95, so it has been a good while. Happy and safe watching to all!

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Last time we had a good one I recall using a welder’s shield to look at the eclipse. So if all the glasses are sold out in your area, and you have a welder close by, see if he has some extra shields.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      In our area, Harbor Freight sells a fairly cheap version of welder’s googles, and seem to be in good supply.

      • tomh
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Welder’s glass is numbered from 1 to 14 with 14 being the darkest. It is only number 14 glass that is dark enough for solar viewing.

        • Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for that info.

        • Ralph
          Posted August 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          Shade number #14 filters are sold out everywhere.

          But you can stack two lower shade numbers on top of one another. If you have two filters with lower shade numbers, you add the numbers and SUBTRACT ONE to get the equivalent. In other words, if you stack (say) #10 with #5, that is equivalent to #14.

          The math:
          T = 10 ^ [ 3/7 (1-S) ]
          where T is transmittance, S is shade #
          and transmittance is multiplicative

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorbance#Shade_number

      • Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        welder’s googles?? 🙂

  3. Ken Phelps
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The Sensuous Curmudgeon has had several posts on the religious zaniness surrounding the eclipse in the last couple weeks. The World Net Daily type folks are going full “end times”.

  4. Mark Perew
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    A friend has asked if it is safe to view the eclipse via a cellphone camera in selfie mode. With the eclipse behind him, can the partial eclipse be watched on the phone screen without damage to either the CCD in the phone or to himself?

    I would suspect that the cellphone won’t be bright enough to burn a person’s retina, but I’m not sure what that would do to the CCD.

    • Kevin
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Last eclipse I had to put a neutral density filter (OD 3 – 1000 times attenuation) in order for my phone to take a good picture and it worked well. The phone will not put brighter light than it is capable, so looking at the screen would be safe, but not worth the chance as 1) I don’t know if it would damage the camera sensor, 2) if the phone accidentally moved then you would be looking directly at the sun…not good.

      • Jacques Hausser
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        What I did the last time we had a partial eclipse, to show it to my grandson, was tro make a pinhole (diameter about 1 mm) in a cardboard sheet and hold it in front of a white sheet (at 50 cm). It is less spectacular than a direct view, but safe for the eyes. You can improve the method by constructing a real camera obscura, a cardboasrd box with a pinhole, and the opposite wall replaced by a translucent tracing paper.

        • Jacques Hausser
          Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          I should look at my keyboard when typing…

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Re your (2), Mark said ‘selfie mode’ – so you’d be looking directly away from the sun…

        But I suspect it would fry the camera sensor.

        cr

    • rickflick
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      If you have a cheap, throw away iPhone, you might want to try it, but some wavelengths of the radiation out of the sun, I think mainly infrared, could fry your sensor.

    • Posted August 17, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      I don’t know, but a friend of mine managed to take a photo of some welding torches in use at close range with no permanent damage to the CCD. (He was also personally protected with the usual welder’s equipment.)

  5. roger
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Think your times are off. Should be am for the start

  6. tomh
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Amazon has created chaos by recalling eclipse glasses they have sold as possibly being counterfeit. According to the American Astronomical Society, “it appears Amazon let anyone sell solar eclipse viewers on its website without any safety checks,” and then made things worse by recalling glasses from both approved and unapproved vendors.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Anyone with a toy rubber stamp kit from Toys-R-Us could make decoys. BTW, ISO is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I’m one of Amazon’s victims. See my post #24.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      We got that email from Amazon several days ago. (We’ve ordered some more just to be safe.) It said to the effect that they couldn’t confirm that the glasses were ISO-approved (even though “ISO” is on the label). Way to go Amazon; don’t get concerned about it until two weeks or less before the event.

  7. Craw
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Can we rip the glasses off nazis? How about Breitbart readers?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Glasses are for cucks.

  8. Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    At the center of the track on the Snake River plain in remote Eastern Oregon, an eight hour drive from Seattle. Still, there will be crowds.

    • yazikus
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Remote eastern Oregon is one of my favorite places in the world. And yes, I imagine there will be crowds! I was at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center last August, and they were anticipating quite the crowd even then.

      • Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Mine too, and largely undiscovered. Let it remain so. Love the John Day Condon Center and the phenomenal Painted Hills.

        • rickflick
          Posted August 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          I spent a couple of days at John Day area taking pictures. Wonderful at sunrise and sunset.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Near Casper, WY – current estimate is that the population of Wyoming will more than double next Monday 🙂

      • Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Casper is a great spot. A mile high and likely clear skies. Also fifteen more seconds of precious totality than I’ll see. Tried to book in there eighteen months ago and couldn’t.

        • Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          Yup – I think that Wyo is so popular because of the elevations and the likelihood of good weather. Current forecast is partly cloudy and 20% chance of rain – however, that usually occurs later in the day, hopefully!

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Reading this made me think of Annie Dillard’s wonderful belles-lettres essay about the profound experience of viewing a total solar eclipse. (Hint: It’s nothing like seeing a mere partial eclipse.) Reading it again just now, makes me want to make travel plans to get in the path of this one.

  10. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this reminder – I originally blew it off because I don’t live in the 100% path but of course just go look at it anyways and yes I’ll get some genuine specs from Lowe’s where I always see them but now know there genuine.

  11. alexander
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    If you have binoculars, you can project the sun’s image on a sheet of paper. I don’t remember whether you direct the objective to the sun or the ocular, you will have to try, and you will also have to experiment with the distance from the binoculars at which you get a sharp image.

    Unfortunately, here in Europe we won’t have the chance to observe the eclipse, I think in the UK you will be able to see a partial eclipse.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      @Alexander Yes – not worth the bother in the UK. Only 5.8% obscuration at best in the far SW of England & 1.4% in North Bonnie Scotland – lots of glasses being sold nevertheless…

    • harrync
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      I went out this morning and did a test run with one half of my binocular [i.e., I left the lens cover on one half.] Aim the objective to the sun, the eye piece to the ground. My 7 x 50 gave a focused image almost an inch in diameter when held about a foot and a half above my sidewalk. Although I understand why few people are suggesting this simple viewing method. I can foresee a few idiots looking through them directly at the sun and saying “But they said you could use binoculars to view the eclipse.”

      • jay
        Posted August 18, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

        One concern from my childhood telescoping days is that it was always recommended that solar projection be done with with a non corrected eyepiece (Ramsden or Huygens type) rather than cemented lens corrected eyepieces.

        The theory was that the heat of extended viewing could degrade the cement bonding the glass elements and ruin the eyepiece. Being that quality binoculars have corrected eyepieces these days.. I’m not sure if there is a risk of significance.

    • jay
      Posted August 18, 2017 at 5:11 am | Permalink

      The pinhole method (using good size cardboard box and projecting to the back works and is quite safe.

      Projecting through binoculars is kind of awkward unless you have a tripod, and the focused image can become hot (remember using a magnifying glass as a kid?)

      When I was young I used to have a sun filter for my telescope. Interestingly they were made from two layers of glass, because behind a scope they can become quite hot. If the first layer shattered, there was enough attenuation in the second layer to get your eye out of the way. The best sun filters were placed in front of the objective, but these were much more expensive.

      I would not point a phone or digital camera at the sun without filtration comparable to your eyewear. There is very real possibility of damage, sometimes not immediately noticeable… not worth it.

  12. HBB
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m headed to Gothenburg in western Nebraska on Interstate 80. It’s about a 5 hour drive for us. I shouldn’t “say” this out loud, but I am skipping our first day of the semester to go see it. Several of my Biology colleagues are doing the same. Please don’t tell our new Dean.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I understand that Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska will be over run!!

  13. Liz
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Worked with the ISO 22000 preparing for audits in a manufacturing facility once. It stands for the International Organization of Standardization but they use ISO instead of IOS for some reason.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Maybe French word ordering?

      • Desnes Diev
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        In French, it would be “OIN” as ISO stands for “Organisation internationale de normalisation”. If I remember well, ISO refers to the greek “ISOS” meaning “equal”.

      • Liz
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure. Maybe.

        The eclipse glasses should be ISO 12312-2 compliant.

        “ISO 12312-2:2015
        Eye and face protection — Sunglasses and related eyewear — Part 2: Filters for direct observation of the sun” – https://www.iso.org/standard/59289.html

    • Bob
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      ISO = International Standards Organization
      That’s how I’ve always seen its initials spelled out. Unlike CERN which really is an acronym of its French name.

      • Liz
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Okay. Wasn’t 100% sure why it was that way. Thank you.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        As you say.

        Technically, ‘ISO’ is meaningless without quoting *which* standard (as in, ‘ISO 1234’), but I guess ‘ISO’ on its own in this context means ‘complying with the relevant ISO standard’.

        (‘iso’ is a quite different chemical term.)

        I think ISO is a predominantly European organisation, established to make some sense of proliferating national standards. Headquarters in Geneva. It publishes standards for just about everything.

        For example, in your camera, there is a ‘ISO’ setting for exposure sensitivity which relates back to the ISO number for film sensitivity.

        Moi, I’ve always just used a strip of exposed 35mm negative film for viewing eclipses.

        cr

        • Posted August 17, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          Just like people use “ISO” to mean (I believe) a ISO 9660 image of a CD.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            Yes, they certainly do, I’ve got several ‘.iso’ files on my server (for burning boot disks and the like) – as you say, they’re ISO 9660 format and are known (for short) as ‘iso’s.

            cr

        • jay
          Posted August 18, 2017 at 5:19 am | Permalink

          Do NOT use film. It is not considered safe/

  14. John Conoboy
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    If you are in a place where the eclipse will be total, you will not see it during the time of totality using the glasses. There will be about a 2+ minute period of totality.If it is total you can look at it without the glasses. I have been using the website of eclipse2017(dot)org to plan for watching.

    • W.Benson
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Good comment! Please correct me if I am wrong, but at totality the sun is completely occluded, and filtering glasses are not needed. Also at totality the stars should come out! If you want to record it, you should not use a dense filter on your camera. If my travel plans go right, and the clouds cooperate, I’ll be watching from upstate South Carolina.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        @W.Benson Make sure you are near a broadleaf tree with plenty of leaves if possible – the fortuitous gaps between the leaves act as many pinhole cameras. The patterns of light on the ground are worth recording & rather lovely! More interesting [by far] than the millions of eclipse photos others will be taking. See here for example pics:
        https://petapixel.com/2012/05/21/crescent-shaped-projections-through-tree-leaves-during-the-solar-eclipse/

        During totality around four of the planets are visible. The planets orbit in a disc around Sol, thus from your perspective [you, Sol & the moon are also in that disc] the planets will appear in a straight line that passes through the eclipse. You will see Venus first around half an hour before the eclipse – this gives you the VENUS to SOL line for spotting the other three planets during totality. Here is where to expect the planets for Tennessee during the eclipse – it’s close enough to the SC view:

        • W.Benson
          Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Groovy.

  15. busterggi
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    This’ll be my third good solar eclipse – never a full one but still good.

  16. Gary Radice
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m fortunate to live in Corvallis, OR, in the path of totality. I’ll have to go all the way out to my balcony to watch.

    I have family members flying in Friday and Saturday for the event. ODOT is saying that the normal 2 hour drive from PDX to Corvallis may take 8 hours or more so be prepared with water and food and expect a lot of time just sitting in traffic. Locally, the city is recommending not irrigating lawns during the weekend so there will be enough water for residents and tens of thousands of visitors to flush toilets! The state is expecting up to 1 million visitors (the resident population is about 4 million).

  17. Walt Jones
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    NASA info on which brands of glasses to use, including a link to a list of vendors verified by the American Astronomical Society: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

  18. GBJames
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I are driving down to Missouri (from Wisconsin) for the show. Right now the weather report says “party cloudy” which is promising.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      It depends on which part. 😉

      • GBJames
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Not understanding.

        • rickflick
          Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          It depends on which part of the sky is partly cloudy. Good luck. My brother is traveling from Michigan to Missouri. If you get to Missouri and it’s too cloudy to see anything, you can catch it live streamed on the net.

  19. Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    One solution to those without classes is a cardboard camera obscura. Get two white cardboard index cards. Poke a pin hole in one. Hold the other below it and move them apart until you get a good image of the sun on the lower card.

    It’s pretty amazing the detail you’ll see and you won’t have to worry about your peepers.

  20. JoeB
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    If you walk in a grove of leafy trees, you will often see images of the sun projected on the ground all around you. I once discovered an ongoing partial eclipse this way, on the campus of Notre Dame, summer of 63-66.
    Used to live in south St. Louis County, right in the path of totality. Living in Hawaii, flew to the Big Island with my daughter to see the total eclipse of 7/11/91.
    Don’t think Jerry will experience much darkness in Chicago. At 87% occlusion, sun will still be very bright. The sun is 400,000 times brighter than a full moon. 13% of that is still 50,000 times brighter.

    • busterggi
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I was at Bushnell Park in Hartford for the one back in the ’90’s – the leaf effect is amazing!

  21. Wayne Robinson
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    If you have the opportunity to travel to observe the total solar eclipse, do it. Experiencing a total solar eclipse as experiences go is one of the greatest ones.

    In 2008, I went to Novosibirsk in Siberia to observe one. Totality lasted there around 2 1/2 minutes, about as long as the upcoming one. Hopefully, you won’t have cloudy conditions.

    I’m planning on going to the July 22, 2028 eclipse in Northern Australia (a local one for me) which is going to be a long one with totality lasting over 5 minutes! There’s also the advantage that July and August in Northern Australia are usually cloudless (the wet is in the summer months).

    As has been noted, at totality it’s perfectly safe to look at the sun directly. Don’t waste your time trying to take photos through iPhones, filters, or anything. If you want images of the total solar eclipse, you’ll be able to find better ones on the Internet taken by professionals with much better equipment. Two minutes isn’t long – enjoy it to the full.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      PCC (retired) is just a five hour drive from the locus of the longest duration at Carbondale IL. If the weather there is forecast to be clear, I would certainly go.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Really! Although at this point finding a place to stay …

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      “at totality it’s perfectly safe to look at the sun directly.”

      Well, technically speaking, you’re looking at the dark side of the moon. That is, the dark side at that moment, not the ‘dark side’ as in the-side-we-never-see.

      Or to quote Pink Floyd’s roadie, “There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”.

      (And if it takes two minutes, that’s just time to listen to ‘Eclipse’ –
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmCA4Y8fUZo )

      cr

  22. Karen Bartelt
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Eclipse party with the fam, including three little grandkids, at Land Between the Lakes KY in an area of totality. I’ll probably spend most of the time keeping the glasses on the two year old!

  23. Posted August 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    My house in Chattanooga is at 99%, so I’m taking my daughter about an hour north to Spring City, Tennessee, to experience a full two minutes and thirty seconds of totality. Fortunately, I am very familiar with the area, so alternate routes on back roads are not an issue. I have Plan A, B, C, and D all ready for a last-minute decision to change course due to weather–my daughter and I can rely on cloud cover for most astronomical events–but all are currently at Mostly Sunny, 20% chance of rain.

  24. Posted August 16, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    “ISO” doesn’t mean a thing.

    Over a month ago I bought several eclipse viewing glasses from Amazon and they arrived complete with the “ISO” labeling. Last Saturday I got an email from Amazon stating “Amazon has not received confirmation from the supplier of your order that they sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer. We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse.”

    They added that they’re refunding my money, but I don’t consider that to be satisfactory. At this point finding replacement glasses would probably be very difficult and expensive for me, so I think Amazon should keep my money and send me the right glasses. And if they can’t find officially certified glasses to send me, how can they expect me find them myself?

    The glasses I have seem fine so I guess I’ll have to take my chances with them. Meanwhile I learned on another discussion forum that I’m not the only one, so I’m keeping my eyes out (no pun intended) for a class action suit.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Well of course they risk prosecution if they’re either fake or not complying with the claimed ISO standard.

      If it just says ‘ISO’ *without* a number it gets a lot more difficult, since it’s not necessarily claiming to comply with the applicable ISO standard. They might just be complying with some standard for, I don’t know, recyclable packaging or something.

      Like ordinary sunglasses that say ‘UV safe’ – does that just mean the plastic frames won’t degrade in the sun?

      Amazon’s email might mean (a) that the glasses are complete rubbish and they’re trying to whitewash it, or (b) the glasses are perfectly good and there’s just one piece of paper in the trail that hasn’t arrived yet.

      cr

  25. rickflick
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    If the weather does not cooperate were you are (or will be), you might want to catch the live stream. I think NASA is one place to see it. Probably at NASA-TV.com

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. Maybe email me to remind me on Sunday evening, and I’ll post the link early.

  26. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Boo Lowe’s- planned a trip around that – so they still got my money. Nobody in the cutting area or anywhere else either. Boo Boo.

  27. allison
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I live a bit north of Atlanta and intend to drive northward a hundred miles or so to put myself in the path of totality somewhere in Tennessee or North Carolina, probably. I intend to position myself in such a manner that I can re-position easily if necessary to avoid clouds. Besides clouds, I am concerned about an unknown variable – traffic. I think it’s at least possible that roads within the path of totality will be jammed.

    I hope everybody realizes that the difference between being IN the path of totality and OUTSIDE the path is literally the difference between night and day! Outside the path – even if the sun is 99% covered – the average person might not even notice that anything is happening, if unaware of the eclipse! The reason being that that last 1% of the sun is still bright as heck. If you can travel into the path of totality, by all means make the effort to do so. Within the path of totality the sun will literally disappear from the sky, and night (or at least twilight) will fall. Brighter stars may be visible.

    If you are in the path of totality, don’t keep your attention focused entirely on the sun before totality. Watch for the moon’s shadow approaching from the northwest – that part of the sky should grow dark in the last few minutes before totality. Also watch for the mysterious and still unexplained phenomena of “shadow bands” – parallel linear shadows racing along the ground in the final minutes before totality.

    There are some good videos on youtube that will give you an idea of what to expect.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      @Allison Shadow bands appear in the minute immediately before & immediately after totality. I don’t know if they’ve ever been seen racing along the ground far from the observer, because the bands are very, very faint & low contrast. Also only a few inches across.

      The best way to see them is on a pale, even surface of one colour that’s only a few feet from you. The surface is best facing towards the eclipse or flat to the ground. I’ve seen a still picture of a white rendered house with impressive parallel, ripply ‘shadow bands’ all over the frontage of the building – it’s on the site of a Dr. Wolfgang Strickling, but my instinct is it’s a fake.

      Here’s a typical example of shadow banding starting at around 55 seconds into this video & lasting for around a minute & then there’s totality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I4YNa5-nuk

      I am guessing that shadow bands are more likely the lower the eclipse is in the sky – there’s a greater thickness of air for the light to travel through at low sun angles.

      • allison
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I saw them during the 1984 annular eclipse from a distance of about 20 miles from the central line. They were quite something! We had a nice flat paved area on which to watch them. My relatives were very impressed by the phenomena.

  28. Wonderer
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, I just checked my local Lowes, Walmart, and Circle K and all were sold out. (Lafayette, IN)

    I guess I’ll be engineering a different option.

    Don’t procrastinate folks.

    • tomh
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      It’s because of the Amazon debacle. Prices have skyrocketed also.

  29. Newish Gnu
    Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m leaving at 2 am, driving 8 hours, watching it, driving 8 hours, and going to bed. My teens might join me. My wife won’t. Friends think I’m crazy.

    • Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      I guess they are not really your friends!! 🙂 I am in nearly the same boat, but not 8 hours!!

    • Filippo
      Posted August 16, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      “Take the Cash, and let the Credit go.”

      – Omar Khayyam

      “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”

      – Robert Herrick (?)

  30. Stephen Caldwell
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    The International Standards Organization sets the quality standards, in this case, for material to view the sun. The line on your glasses your looking for is that they conform to ISO 12312-2 or ISO 12312-2:2015. And, the manufacturer’s address should be on the glasses. Our astronomy club here in Arkansas had to be careful about vendors to get the right ones. We sold out.
    I’ll be in Hopkinsville, KY at Murray State University’s satellite campus. Totality should be 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

  31. Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Cool photo of Angry Cat Man!

  32. Posted August 17, 2017 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    I plan on taking the eye piece off my telescope and shining the eclipse onto a piece of paper.

    Worked well last eclipse, yielding a small but crisp image.


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