Admittedly, I am excited about the solar eclipse! I wasn’t really “into it” until a friend asked me if I wanted to travel to a state park here in Missouri, hike up a 1.5-2-mile trail, stand at the peak of the highest point, and witness the (little over) two-minute disk of the moon completely covering the disk of the sun. Complete darkness. It sounds mysteriously wonderful, even eerie. I will be able to share the story with my grandchildren. It is one of those moments I anticipate remembering the rest of my life.
So, what’s the big deal?
The moon orbits an average of 239,000 miles from Earth — just the right distance to seem the same size in the sky as the much-larger sun. However, these heavenly bodies line up only about once every 18 months.
Outside the path of totality, sky watchers in the continental U.S. and other nearby areas will see a partial solar eclipse, in which the moon appears to take a bite out of the sun's disk. Two to five solar eclipses occur each year on average, but total solar eclipses happen just once every 18 months or so.
Still, what’s the big deal?
In the middle of the day, we will be cloaked in complete darkness. The moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun. I understand witnessing this to be a “jaw dropping” moment! I am anticipating it to be a strange experience: as we stand, sit, or hike in anticipation, the cloak of darkness will begin moving toward us, then cover us completely, and then begin moving away. Those effects are not visible during a partial solar eclipse, that is why we are traveling to where we will be in the direct path of totality.
All of this with estimated thousands of my closest friends!
Those effects are not visible during a partial solar eclipse, that is why we are traveling to where we will be in the direct path of totality. Ginger has done her research, she has chosen the best possible spot!
Because the shadow of the moon will move from west to east, totality will occur later in the day the farther east you are. To find out exactly when totality will occur and how long it will last, you can google the NASA interactive eclipse map.
We are expecting our community to be overrun with visitors; I overheard a city representative talking about a man coming from England! The media is predicting traffic nightmares, perhaps the worst ever! The police are on high alert. There are weddings being planned and vows to be professed during the minute or two of darkness.
All of this sounds thrilling to me. Something different. An energy we don’t usually experience around our Midwest living. My friend began planning this adventure for us a couple of months ago. We have our solar glasses ready to go. We are packing water and food for the journey.
Solar glasses are essential to view the eclipse. Although the naked eye can view the total eclipse in safety, the protective shades make it possible for observers to look directly at the sun before and after totality. Sunglasses cannot be used in place of solar viewing glasses. We got our solar glasses from our local library, free of charge.
Here are a few more details about the day of the event:
Although about 12 million people live within the narrow band of totality, approximately 25 million reside within a day's drive of it, and the agency has estimated that the population inside the path of totality may double on the day of the eclipse.
With that in mind, make sure you plan for extra travel time, especially on the day of the eclipse. Most hotel rooms inside the path of totality have been booked for months or years, so you may not be able to stay inside the path the night before.
When selecting a location where you plan to view the eclipse, keep in mind your proximity to food, water, parking, and facilities. Attending an organized eclipse event is an ideal way to make sure those things are close by (there are a lot of them along the path). Traveling even short distances could be difficult in some areas, and midday in the middle of August can mean punishing heat in many parts of the country. Knowledge and preparation are key.
In 2024, a total solar eclipse will darken the skies above Mexico and Texas, up through the Midwest and northeastern U.S.
I would love to hear your plans or your experience after the eclipse! Good planning will allow you to enjoy the adventure and be a part of a great energy. I love the excitement being wrapped around this solar eclipse in my community. I’m thankful I have a friend who is a planner, I am thrilled to be experiencing this oh-so-rare approximately two minutes in time. I wonder, will it feel like time has stood still? Whatever it feels like, I know it will be a great time. Enjoy!
Until next time, keep living the Sacred Dance!