Total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 - predictions

I plan to come over from the UK for this - initial thoughts are the plains of NE, in the middle of nowhere, on a dusty intersection. I'm all about seeing as much sky as possible (for example, to see the shadow racing in from the NW, to see the 'edge' of the shadow on the horizons, etc. Of course, the weather close to the time will dictate where, but I would plan to be in the area at least 3 days before in order to re-position as required. Hopefully there may be some northern Plains storm action in the succeeding days to chase too!
 
Mar 21, 2005
1,190
31
11
Kearney, NE
The center line passes through the intersection a mile north of me (Alda, NE). Of course, being in such an ideal location is an indication that it will be totally overcast here that day. :\
 
  • Like
Reactions: John Wetter
Jun 14, 2009
328
155
11
Altoona, Iowa
toddrector.com
The center line passes through the intersection a mile north of me (Alda, NE). Of course, being in such an ideal location is an indication that it will be totally overcast here that day. :\
Luckily in August we usually have that nice big Omega block going, with hot sunny days. Weather has always been my issue with aurora photography in the midwest. It seems like every time there is a serious geomagnetic storm going on, there is thick cloud cover for hundreds of miles.
 
Feb 9, 2007
259
33
11
35
Illinois
skywarnforum.com
For instance, here in southern Illinois, you might have a significant part of the Chicago, St. Louis, Quad Cities, Springfield and Memphis metros all converging in rural areas from mid-Missouri to western Kentucky. It's mind-boggling to think of what that would look like - endless severe chaser convergence-like conditions for hundreds of miles?
Hey there Dan, you are in southern Illinois? I live in southern IL, near Carbondale.
 

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
854
46
11
Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
I have a hotel room in Grand Island the evening of the 21st as I'll be driving down that morning and likely setting up in the Sand Hills. I won't be taking pictures, I just want to take it all in without anyone around me. From what I understand, hotels are getting hard to find in Missouri and to the SE of there, around the longest duration areas, though that really doesn't matter too much. I can't wait to see it! Let's hope the weather holds out somewhere in the plains for this one!
 
Being in Oregon, i'll probably just head down to Steens Mnt area(SE OR), and make it a 3 day camping trip or something. I havent looked into it, but im hoping I can get a shot off the Alvord Playa. The only problem is im sure every single person in this state will be heading east of the Cascades too.
 
May 16, 2011
241
204
11
47
Seattle , Wa
We're getting to just two years away from this monumental event. Here is the path of totality:



For instance, here in southern Illinois, you might have a significant part of the Chicago, St. Louis, Quad Cities, Springfield and Memphis metros all converging in rural areas from mid-Missouri to western Kentucky. It's mind-boggling to think of what that would look like - endless severe chaser convergence-like conditions for hundreds of miles?
On top of that Dan, imagine the panic when the Cricket people emerge from within the earth during the moment of totality and start taking prisoners.

(shivers)
 

JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
170
214
11
Omaha, NE
I created a thread for this as I didn't see this old one in here. I'll just kind of copy and paste what I put in the other thread. Some of this stuff has "kind of" been answered already, but here it is.:

I didn't see a thread for this started anywhere, so here we go. Anyone else excited for this?! I definitely am and cannot wait until this coming August 21st. It's nice too that the path of totality comes within about 50 miles of Omaha so I don't have far to go.

http://www.space.com/35171-great-american-solar-eclipse-coming-in-2017.html

Anyone planning on viewing this/traveling to the path of totality? Has anyone experienced a total eclipse like this?
I want to document as much of this as possible of course. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get the best pictures or video?

I have a Nikon D5000 and a Panasonic 4k video camera. I do have a piece of thick welder's glass that I used to snap some pictures of a partial eclipse we had here a few years ago. I just basically held the piece of glass in front of my lens. I have a 75-300m zoom lens, an 18-55mm lens and then a 11-16 mm lens. I would think the wide angle wouldn't be the lens to use, and have thought about zooming in as much as possible as well. However, I've thought it would be nice to get a picture with something in the foreground as well(church, etc.). Of course there isn't a lot of time to capture totality(here in Nebraska it's a bit over 2 minutes), so I really don't want to be fumbling around with equipment versus just enjoying what is going on.

My biggest concern is damaging the camera/camcorder if I take pictures/video during the partial phase. Do I need to worry about damaging the sensors in the camera. Are there any filters that I could attach versus trying to tape or otherwise attach a piece of heavy welders glass to my equipment. I don't plan on taking any long exposure shots with my camera, but if I let my video camera record for a while before, during, and after will that damage anything?

Thanks in advance for any tips/suggestions and looking forward to seeing how many people are going to travel to experience this!
 
Mar 8, 2016
176
257
11
Bloomington, IL
Pretty excited for this now that I live somewhere within easy driving distance. The negative side to that is I'll be storming down there with the rest of the chicagolanders...
 
Oct 26, 2007
194
37
11
Topeka, Kansas
I plan on going north from Topeka to see it, and I will be taking my 85 year old mother as well. I saw one in Montana in 1979. If it is your first eclipse, I would recommend concentrating on watching it, and taking a few photos, but don't worry so much about quantity or quality. Total eclipses are a lot like seeing a strong tornado.....they are rare and fleeting. Things to observe.....the shadow approaching at 2000 mph, a drop in temperature, birds get quiet, and some of the brighter stars and planets become visible. If you are fortunate enough to view totality through a telescope, you will see details in the corona, possible prominences, and Baily's Beads just before, and just after totality. This is sunlight peaking through the valleys and dips in the mountains. It will be total for about 2 minutes and 38 seconds....like seeing an EF-5 for that amount of time...very brief. During totality, you won't need a filter to see it or photograph it. Use your longest telephoto, and bracket so you have different exposures. I will probably shoot 5 or 6 frames from about 1/200 of a sec, down to about a 1/25th @f/8.
 

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
486
479
21
54
Menominee, MI
I was lucky enough to see one in 1979. I was super cool how dark eerie it got in a short time. My school let all the kids go outside for it. My dad provided me with a welding mask to watch it through. Funny though, at the time I thought I'd be able to see them all the time. Glad I got to see it!
 

JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
170
214
11
Omaha, NE
So what do people think about recording it on a video camera? I saw a video online from a total eclipse and it appears the person had something in front of the lens during the partial phase and removed it during totality and then put it back in front of the camcorder when totality ended. Is there any risk in damaging your camera or camcorder during the partial phases?


Sent from my iPhone using Stormtrack
 
I've been wondering about Dan's original thoughts on traffic and figured I might just run an experiment. Using the chase map I brewed up a couple years ago as a starting point, I altered it a bit to make an estimate of traffic density for the eclipse. This incorporates assumptions about traffic load near cities, national parks, interstates, historically cloud-free zones, and the eclipse path and center line. I created intensity maps of each of those and massaged them together in Photoshop. My thought is that all of those factors would add together to anticipate heavier traffic. But I also reduced the traffic estimate for areas with denser road grids and therefore more routing options.

After blending all that, I mapped color to it and then masked it to the graphic of all US roads and this is the result: my personal estimate/hypothesis of where heavier & lighter traffic may be for the eclipse. A lot of assumptions in there, so it could be totally wrong in tons of areas, but it's my experiment, so there you go : ) Afterward, I'll keep an eye out for what different areas experienced and see how decent or shoddy it was.

US_2017EclipseMap_20170112_overallROADS_1280px.jpg

And just restricted to the eclipse path:
US_2017EclipseMap_20170112_pathonlyROADS_1280px.jpg

High-res:
http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/archives/images/2017/US_2017EclipseMap_20170112_overallROADS.jpg

High-res Eclipse Path Only:
http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/archives/images/2017/US_2017EclipseMap_20170112_pathonlyROADS.jpg
 
Feb 15, 2005
48
23
11
49
Broken Arrow, OK
www.angelfire.com
Aside from the length of the total eclipse, is there any advantage to being right in the center of the path? I am a 15 minute drive to dead center from my house and less than 10 minutes to dead center from my parents...Glad I live in Nashville.
Your best way to know the eclipse duration is to click on your location on this interactive Google Map of the eclipse path.

http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/TSE_2017_GoogleMapFull.html

From taking a look at the path in mid-Missouri, I found the following which gives some indication of the duration vs. position in the path (center vs. edge):

2m 40s: Centerline
2m 20s: Halfway to edge of path
1m 55s: 3/4 to edge of path
1m 30s: 7/8 to edge of path
A few seconds: at edge of path

So really, most anywhere in the path of totality you should get a decent percentage of the full duration, unless you're close to the very edge, where the duration quickly drops to 0 seconds.

I have a hotel room in Jefferson City, MO the night before, with an option to book it into Nebraska if there's cloud cover. Can't wait to see this!
 
I have a hotel room in Jefferson City, MO the night before, with an option to book it into Nebraska if there's cloud cover.
Ken,

How did you do this? I have some free nights with Marriott, so I was going to book a hotel with them. I picked a location with 30% average chance of cloud cover. My wife is asking the question, "What if there is cloud coverage?" You answered the question, but how did you do it?
 
Mar 16, 2004
110
14
11
New Jersey
Ken,

How did you do this? I have some free nights with Marriott, so I was going to book a hotel with them. I picked a location with 30% average chance of cloud cover. My wife is asking the question, "What if there is cloud coverage?" You answered the question, but how did you do it?
I'm not certain, but I think "with an option to book it into Nebraska if there's cloud cover" means with the option of traveling to Nebraska from Jefferson City in time for the eclipse if it's cloudy in Jefferson City.
I'll be in North Platte or Lexington, NE the night before. Center of totality is about 30 miles north; Center of totality at WY / NE border is 5-6 hours away, as is center of totality at KS / NE border. I have the option to cancel without penalty before 4PM local time, if I need to be closer to somewhere else as my jumping-off point.

Sean
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,554
2,220
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Jeremy, those maps are fantastic! I'm wondering if you can take into account the major cities connected to the path via major highways (like Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans residents traveling to the path via I-55).

The 'move at the last minute' prospect is somewhat worrisome, as I'm not sure how feasible it will be if traffic is on the higher end of the scale. I-70 in Missouri has a history of backups during high-travel events (holiday traffic for example) and I could imagine it being completely out of play for a westward move. Also, there are bottlenecks like few Missouri River crossings between MO/IA and NE.

I would almost think a feasible last-minute change westward would be using state highways like Highway 50 in MO and Highway 56 in Kansas (south of I-70) to get west, then using something like Highway 15 or Highway 81 to go north. Basically bypassing the traffic nightmares likely to be taking place along I-70 and the big metro areas like KC, St. Louis and Omaha. There are lots of road options to go west then north in central KS and NE.

A possible route avoiding these trouble spots would take 9 and a half hours from Jefferson City to Grand Island, which would mean leaving by midnight before to arrive early enough to get into position:

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Jefferson+City,+MO/40.9258399,-98.3759711/@39.7455176,-96.3945773,8z/data=!4m39!4m38!1m35!1m1!1s0x87db5dab4e3b0af1:0xb2e7c94bbca8d9ad!2m2!1d-92.1735164!2d38.5767017!3m4!1m2!1d-93.4171646!2d38.7051223!3s0x87c38cb42ec938ed:0xa5d21ddc2f6012!3m4!1m2!1d-93.9884957!2d38.7178591!3s0x87c148d33d7f1e1f:0xc0394a0a25d121b4!3m4!1m2!1d-94.8713549!2d38.6214176!3s0x87c0b23c480d4899:0x2cacf178b848f2db!3m4!1m2!1d-96.903937!2d38.6673752!3s0x87bc6f72fa13fa0b:0x4261b0349045914c!3m4!1m2!1d-97.5173613!2d39.3646916!3s0x87bd3ee0c14f2f4f:0x772ad4f444902d5d!3m4!1m2!1d-98.401829!2d40.4555386!3s0x8799a8d420d52631:0x6ebbee987dfe6be4!1m0!3e0

I'm now thinking about booking a hotel in Osage City, KS, then making the decision to either go east back home or north to NE depending on which one looks to be out of the clouds.

Again, I'm also concerned about fuel, food and lodging shortages in rural NE, so I may have to plan for that somehow (rooftop or trunk gas cans).

It will be interesting to try and gauge the influx of people ahead of time. I think hotel bookings might be a good indicator to watch as we get closer in time.
 
Last edited:
Just got my hotel booked for Lincoln, NE. I wanted to stay in North Platte, but the hotels were already booked. I also tried 3 other locations in NE and WY, and they were all booked as well. I was limited by my wanting to use points with Marriott, but still. I was surprised at how fast the hotels are booking up. If you want to make this happen, book your hotel(s) now. I say hotel(s) because you can book in multiple cities, then forecast cloud cover, pick a location, and cancel your other reservations. I'm able to cancel my reservation up until the day before.
 
Mar 16, 2004
110
14
11
New Jersey
Just got my hotel booked for Lincoln, NE. I wanted to stay in North Platte, but the hotels were already booked. I also tried 3 other locations in NE and WY, and they were all booked as well. I was limited by my wanting to use points with Marriott, but still. I was surprised at how fast the hotels are booking up. If you want to make this happen, book your hotel(s) now. I say hotel(s) because you can book in multiple cities, then forecast cloud cover, pick a location, and cancel your other reservations. I'm able to cancel my reservation up until the day before.
From hotels.com earlier today, for checkin 8/20-checkout 8/21:

Casper WY 100% booked
Scottsbluff, NE 100% booked
Cheyenne, WY 96% booked
North Platte, NE 100% booked
Grand Island, NE 90% booked
Kearney, NE 48% booked
Ogallala, NE 87% booked
St. Joseph, MO 100% booked

Don't wait too long.....

Sean
 
May 16, 2010
26
12
0
Just FYI, every hotel is booked in the state of Oregon. In Madras, they are getting $150 for parking space overnight.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,554
2,220
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Hotels.com should be a great site to gauge the influx.

From Sean's 1/20 list, these two have changed to:
100% - Cheyenne, WY
57% - Kearney, NE

Some others:
100% - Beatrice, NE
78% - Hastings, NE
64% - York, NE

Hotels just outside of the path appear to not be impacted yet by the eclipse rush. I am sure as the date approaches, that will change - will be interesting to see how soon that happens.

Casper WY 100% booked
Scottsbluff, NE 100% booked
Cheyenne, WY 96% booked
North Platte, NE 100% booked
Grand Island, NE 90% booked
Kearney, NE 48% booked
Ogallala, NE 87% booked
St. Joseph, MO 100% booked