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Watch the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Oregon's Wine Country

When is the next eclipse? August 21, 2017 and the Willamette Valley is in the prime viewing path. The first total solar eclipse since 1979 will be witnessed by the continental United States, and it touches Oregon first - the shadow of the Moon (umbra) does not touch any other landmass or island before Oregon!

It will take only two minutes for the shadow to race eastward toward its first date with a large population of folks who will be breathlessly awaiting its arrival. Salem, Dallas, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath, McMinnville, and Woodburn, will experience various lengths of totality based on their varying distances from the centerline. At the Oregon State Fairgrounds, we will be treated to one minute and 54.5 seconds of shadow at just after 10:17am.

Oregon will be one of the most popular states to view the eclipse. While the rest of the United States offers a longer duration of totality, sections of the eclipse path in Oregon offers the best weather prospects anywhere along the entire eclipse path. Plus, there will be plenty of parties and celebrations in store for your visit.

 

Total Solar Eclipse Facts and Figures:

  • How long will the total solar eclipse last (in totality)? Approximately 1 minute and 44 seconds
  • What time will is the eclipse? It depends on your position in the Willamette Valley, but a Valley average puts totality at approximately 10:15 a.m.
  • How long should I plan on viewing the eclipse? In total, it is about a 2 ½ hour event
  • What is the safest way to view the total eclipse? Boy are we glad you asked. Complete totality is the only time it is safe to view the sun without optical protection. See below for specific viewing safety tips.

 

Observing the Eclipse:

The only safe way to look directly at the un-eclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses”  or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.

Eclipse glasses should be worn whenever even a part of the sun can be seen; only during totality when the moon has slid fully in front of the sun is it safe to take off one’s eclipse glasses. In fact, observing those brief seconds of totality without eclipse glasses is encouraged because it’s possible during this time to see the outer atmosphere of the sun and its streamers, loops and plumes of gas. Check out these great eclipse-viewing safety tips from NASA.

A few things to remember:

  • Protect your vision; do not look directly at the Sun during the 2 1/2 hours. It is only safe to view the Sun during the 1:44 minutes of totality. 
  • Eye equipment: Proper eclipse glasses or filters must be used to observe the partial phase before or after totality. Stay tuned to find out where find glasses in the Willamette Valley
  • Binoculars can only be used during totality
  • Telescopes are for experts only
  • Cameras are not recommended. Again, probably for experts only. If you must capture this moment on camera make sure you time for the event and do not look into the viewfinder during the eclipse, except when it is in totality.
  • Don’t use anything that is not designed for viewing a solar eclipse
  • Don’t use sunglasses
  • Bottom line: For many, this is a once in a lifetime event. Just enjoy it and live in the moment. You don't want it to pass you by while you fiddle with your devices.

If you plan to view the solar eclipse in the Willamette Valley, pick up our Solar Eclipse safety glasses, available for free (while supplies last) this summer at Willamette Valley visitors centers, and at participating hotels and campgrounds. Details to come later this Spring.

             Photo Courtesy of Outdoor Project

Event Information:

Now you know how to view a Solar Eclipse, but where should you view this epic event? And where can you stay before and after? Many eclipse enthusiasts host parties in local community centers, museums, observatories, parks or open fields. Even your own backyard is a good place to throw a party. It is always a good idea to choose a place that has access to shade and facilities. You may also want to check weather-related web sites for forecasts for your area - and don't forget your safety glasses!

If you prefer a party, you're in luck. Viewing celebrations big and small will be happening in just about every corner of the Willamette Valley on August 21. In Salem don't miss the opportunity to view the event in the hustle and bustle of the Capitol Mall. In the Corvallis area take in the epic event after a refreshing goat-yoga session at Emerson vineyard. In Albany, join the party in the path at the historic airport. Many vineyards throughout the Valley would be happy if you stopped by for a sip a or two of Pinot Noir while you are in the path.

Keep an eye on these listings and find the right party for your best 2017 solar eclipse experience.

Planning your own party? Email becca@oregonwinecountry.org. and submit your event.

NASA has a few tips and tricks for you.

Lodging

According to Travel Oregon, many hotels and campsites along the path of totality are already booked on the dates surrounding August 21, 2017. Several first-come, first-served campgrounds are set to be temporarily converted to reservation-only for the eclipse, so additional campsites will be made available in the coming months. Check with the Willamette Valley visitor center near your event for available lodging options.

 

Transportation

Getting in and around the Willamette Valley may be a bit tricker than usual a few days before and after August 21 due to this epic event. Congestion and delays on I-5 are expected all throughout the Willamette Valley. Buses and trains via Amtrack may be a great alternative.

 

Solar Eclipse Etiquette:

  • Please leave your music at home
  • No fireworks, firecrackers, etc.
  • Do not bring flashlights, or lights of any kind to the viewing

                                                             

A few other things to remember:

  • The temperature will drop by a few degrees
  • Local wildlife may come out for viewing as well. This natural occurrance may throw off the circadian rhythm of local wildlife. Some may be fooled, thinking it is dusk, so it is best to be alert.
  • Hotels and campsites will be hard to come by in the Willamette Valley. Contact your local visitor's center for available lodging or information on viewing parties happening in the area.


More Solar Eclipse Information:

Find more comprehensive and authoritative pages for the 2017 eclipse:

Eclipse2017.nasa.gov Through the Eyes of NASA. Get more infomation on viewing, safety, education and events happening across the country.

EclipseWise.com  By Fred Espenak, retired NASA astrophysicist and the leading expert on eclipse predictions

Eclipse Weather Page. An excellent source for weather prospects for upcoming eclipses by meteorologist Jay Anderson.

Travel Oregon and OMSI Event information

Travel Oregon is producing an eclipse guide book with helpful tips and resources which will also include a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. The guide is set to release in early April and will be available at Oregon Visitor Centers, State Welcome Centers and online at TravelOregon.com/Getting-Around/Online-Guides/.

 

Photos and Content sources: nasa.gov, traveloregon.com