As we should all be aware at this point, there is a total solar eclipse crossing the United States on August 21st! If you want to see how to get your campground ready for the eclipse, check out one of our earlier blog posts here. If you are booked solid like a lot of parks out there, you will want to sound knowledgeable about the event that has drawn campers from near and far to your campground. Here are 5 things to know and to share with your campers so everyone has a great eclipse viewing experience.
1. Stay protected!
It is always important to NEVER look directly at the sun, as the harmful UV rays can do serious damage. Regular sunglasses will not do as they really only block some of the light coming off of the sun, NOT the harmful rays. There are lots of places to buy your own pair of solar eclipse glasses but I ordered them here off of Amazon.com.
2. Watch the clock
It is important to know exactly what time the solar eclipse is happening in your area. Check out this link for a great reference for every time zone in the US. If you are not in the path of totality, it is not a lost cause! You will still have great views of at least a partial eclipse so be sure to still watch the clock closely.
3. Here is what you should be looking for
- Partial eclipse begins (1st contact): The Moon starts becoming visible over the Sun’s disk. The Sun looks as if a bite has been taken from it.
- Total eclipse begins (2nd contact): The entire disk of the Sun is covered by the Moon. Observers in the path of the Moon’s umbra may be able to see Baily’s beads and the diamond ring effect, just before totality.
- Totality and maximum eclipse: The Moon completely covers the disk of the Sun. Only the Sun’s corona is visible. This is the most dramatic stage of a total solar eclipse. At this time, the sky goes dark, temperatures can fall, and birds and animals often go quiet. The midpoint of time of totality is known as the maximum point of the eclipse. Observers in the path of the Moon’s umbra may be able to see Baily’s beads and the diamond ring effect, just after totality ends.
- Total eclipse ends (3rd contact): The Moon starts moving away, and the Sun reappears.
- Partial eclipse ends (4th contact): The Moon stops overlapping the Sun’s disk. The eclipse ends at this stage in this location. (Full description here)
4. Be prepared for the changes
When the sun is completely covered by the moon, you can expect some changes! Researchers say a temperature drop of up to 25 degrees should be expected as well as winds. They also say that odd behavior from animals can happen as well.
5. How to best capture the eclipse
If you think you will simply point your smartphone up at the sun at the perfect time, think again. There are lots of ways to best capture the eclipse, here is a great guide to capturing that special moment.
Do you have a great thing to share with campers as they come in for the eclipse? Let us know!