Road Trip To Darkness
Chasing The Eclipse
On August 18th, 2017 I’m climbing into my trusty Road Trek and heading off on a Road Trip To Darkness. Sounds strange? Well, in a way it is. I’ll be driving north from Kansas City, on the road to Beatrice, Nebraska. Now there may be a few of you that have never heard of Beatrice. And to be honest, I had never heard of Beatrice either. So when a friend from my college days at Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) contacted me in December of 2016 and suggested that we meet up in Beatrice in August of 2017 I was like – “What’s up?” Turns out he is (still) much more informed and organized than I. He explained that there was going to be a total solar eclipse on August 21 of 2017 and that Beatrice Nebraska is just about dead center in the middle of the “path of totality” – the center line of the path of the eclipse which will experience the longest and most total darkness. Who knew? But hey – I’m game for travel just about anytime. A Road Trip to Beatrice Nebraska to see the darkness? Chasing the Eclipse? Sign me up!
August 21,2017 is fast approaching. Time for me to pack up my Road Trek and prepare to head north to Nebraska. Meanwhile, perhaps a bit of Astronomy and Eclipsology will help to set the background.
Astronomers will tell you that a solar eclipse occurs at least two times each year. But the eclipse coming up on August 21, 2017 is different in several ways. For one, this will be no “partial eclipse.” The moon will totally block the sun. And the path of the eclipse is rather unique as well. This is the first eclipse to totally cross the U.S. in 99 years. The strip of total darkness created by the eclipse, known as the “path of totality,” will transit the entire United States, beginning at sunrise out over the Pacific Ocean and entering the U.S. on the Western Shores of Oregon and moving to the southeast before exiting the U.S on the Eastern Shores of South Carolina and eventually ending at sunset out over the Atlantic Ocean. Interestingly, an eclipse is fast. This one will travel from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast in roughly 90 minutes.
The eclipse will follow the “path of totality” indicated by the red line and bordered by the green lines in the image above. The little red dot in the center of the map is the location of Beatrice, Nebraska
Anyone in the “lower 48” states will be able to experience the eclipse in a limited fashion. They will see a partial eclipse. The amount of the sun covered by the moon depends on how far the viewer is from the “path of totality.” The closer to the path the more full the eclipse. Only those directly in the “path of totality” will experience a total eclipse of the sun.
Map showing “magnitude of totality”
as it varies with distance from the “path of totality.”
If you are interested in lots of maps and analytics regarding the eclipse be sure to visit Michael Zeiler’s comprehensive site: GreatAmericanEclipse.com
A closer view of the the path of totality with Beatrice, Nebraska in the center – my Road Trip To Darkness destination. It’s about 195 miles northwest of Kansas City.
The Countdown To The Eclipse has begun in earnest. Apparently millions, literally millions of people are making plans to get in position to view the astronomical event of the year. The chart below gives estimates of viewers by state.
Hotel rooms and camp grounds are sold out in the path of the eclipse. Where will you be on August 21st, 2017? I know where I’ll be. I’ll be in Beatrice, Nebraska – chasing the eclipse and looking for the darkness. I just hope the weather is good! If it’s cloudy – you can find me at the pub ……………….
NOTE OF CAUTION:
If you plan to view the eclipse be sure to use appropriate protective eyewear! For information on the topic visit :
PHOTOGRAPHY – And if you plan to do some eclipse photography you can visit:
CHASE THE ECLIPSE ……. AND ENJOY THE ADVENTURE!
© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.