Friday, 19 August 2016

One year out

Okay, we are just about one year out and it is a good time to check the weather in the area where you are planning to view the eclipse. I have added a few new links to the web page for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. These links take you to weather and atmosphere pages that will be useful in the days just before the eclipse.

One tool amateur astronomers use frequently is called the Clear Sky Chart. These charts predict the weather for a given observer location (normally an observatory or club dark site).  To use, select a location from the map at http://www.cleardarksky.com/cgi-bin/find_chart.py?keys=2017+Solar+Eclipse&title=Clear+Sky+Charts+along+the+2017+Eclipse+Path&disp=gmap that is closest to your planned observing site. When you first click a known point, the duration and name of the location is shown. Next click the name of the location to reveal the details.

In the chart, locate the time near the eclipse time. The squares indicate the conditions and blue is good while white is bad. You can hover over the squares to get more details.

The the predictive tool of the clear sky charts is legendary. Some will tell you it is right almost 100% of the time. Others will say it is a wild guess and has as much accuracy as flipping a coin. As far as I am concerned, it is another way to get more data as the eclipse day approaches!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Should know this week

We should know for certain if the wait paid off on the hotel. Many of the hotels contacted cannot take reservations until a year before you intend to stay. No matter how many rooms you try to book. I know this is the case at many good hotels along the central path.

So what do you do if you want a room?

Wait until one year before the eclipse to try and schedule!

And you might find more success calling just one day later since the computer system is what controls the ability of the operator to make your reservation. OR you book for a day or two earlier to get the room reserved.

In more saturated markets, the price hikes will not take place until all space is sold out and that could take a while.

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Several people have contacted me about camping along the central path. Go out there for a visit this year and you will find plenty of open space. But next year the situation could be quite different. There are reports of RV rentals already booked solid in some of the western states. This could crowd the highways and campgrounds a bit.

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There are some festivals going on in conjunction with the eclipse event. Temporary housing for eclipse chasers are being made available, at a cost, near these festivals. Some sound like they could be a really good time unless you want a quiet area to set up cameras and telescopes.

I will start listing festivals and such at the main eclipse-chasers web site for the 2017 eclipse. Event organizers are encouraged to get in touch.

Monday, 8 August 2016

It is decided, for TSE2017 we will be ...

After shopping several options, we found a nice hotel located on I-65 in southern Kentucky. This location is inside the central path and allows excellent access to various highways should the need arise.

We selected this location because of duration, ease of access from Ohio and points south for family and friends. So we reserved a number of rooms at this location and locked in the price before they start hiking them as seen at other locations with less availability. While the weather prospects are certainly not as great as those in Wyoming, the increased duration and more options to move into other climate zones quickly is attractive.

So you might see us in Nashville or Hopkinsville or up in the hills or anywhere along the interstate highway system. If you want to join in the fun, drop me an email and I can send you the details.

One thing to keep in mind is that I am 16 for 16 when chasing total solar eclipses. I have not been clouded out and I intend to keep it that way! So if the weather dictates we will be hitting the road early in the morning or late the night before to get to a better position. This is a major advantage of eclipse chasing in a country as large and well connected as the USA.

Clear sky!