Oregon Eclipse: 3 Weeks Away

Celestial event or cosmological disaster?

Oregon is in the path of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse with Eugene just on the fringe of the area that will experience totality. If you live in Corvallis you can take off your solar shades once the eclipse is total, but in Eugene, though it will get darker, you will need to wear those special specs while staring at the sun.

The eclipse starts at 9:04 am in Eugene-Springfield, reaches its peak at 10:17 am and wraps up at 11:37 am, according to NASA. Most of Lane County sees about 99 percent of the sun blotted out. You need to travel north of Monroe on Highway 99 or to about Brownsville on I-5 to experience totality.

Travel. That’s the problem. Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management estimates 1 million eclipse visitors in its planning scenario. Oregon only has about 4 million residents. So the state’s called in the National Guard, and the Oregon Department of Transportation and other state and local agencies are sending out warnings that sound like an impending natural disaster instead of celestial event: Stay put! Don’t travel! Have a full gas tank! Carry water! This is either going to be an amazing event, an amazing disaster or another Y2K with much ado about nothing. Let’s hope the National Weather Service doesn’t start predicting another bout of 100-degree temps for that week.

On the positive side, President Donald Trump was born during a total lunar eclipse and many astrologers are predicting this total solar eclipse spells disaster for his presidency (as if it weren’t a disaster already).

Eclipse Information Roundup

• Travel Oregon’s guide to the eclipse http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/oregon-stories/eclipse/

• Travel Lane County on local eclipse options

• Oregon State is having a three-day eclipse fest, the OSU150 Space Grant Festival http://communications.oregonstate.edu/space

• The Science Factory is having an eclipse party http://sciencefactory.org/eclipse

• Get the info on the eclipse from NASA https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

• The Eugene Astronomical Society is not hosting a party. They will be off watching the eclipse in its totality elsewhere! http://www.eugeneastro.org/eclipse-2017