Preparing for the Eclipse

The date is getting closer to see the Solar Eclipse, the first eclipse that will be visible across the entire US in 99 years.  For most of us, this one will be a once in a lifetime experience.  It is logical that millions of people will take advantage of the opportunity, but planning will be essential.  The area of total 100% eclipse goes across the country, and everyone in the US will be able to see at least a partial eclipse.  We are planning to travel just an hour to get into the total zone.  Last weekend we did a trial run to scope out the area, locate bathrooms and figure out parking options anticipating that there will be a lot of people with the same idea.

©Michael Zeiler,, used with permission

Discussing the day, we have made lists of things to do and take for this spectacular day.  I started a bag of things to take, adding to it as I think of things.  Research on other sites gave me some ideas as well, such as taking a white towel to cover the camera so it won’t get as hot being in the sun for hours.  At this point, I think I have everything we might need for a day, and here is our list of essentials.

Sunscreen  – Bug Spray – Special Eclipse Viewing Glasses – hat
Paper Towels – A roll of Toilet Paper (anticipating that will be the first thing to run out)
Cooler with food, water, ice and snacks to last the whole day
Folding Chairs – umbrella – canvas drop cloth and a quilt to lay on
Camera – Solar Filter – tripod – white towel to cover the camera to keep it cooler – extra memory card, extra battery
Books to read, and tunes to pass the time.


We got our glasses and camera filter at, which also has a tremendous amount of information on the eclipse.  Please do not try to observe any of the partial eclipse with your naked eye, even a 99% eclipse still has enough brightness to damage your eyes or camera lenses.  Regular sunglasses are not enough.  When you put on the solar glasses, they are so dark that you cannot see anything through them under normal light, but look directly at the sun through the glasses, and you can see the sun.  The camera filter does the same thing.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

It is recommended that you take pictures of the sun ahead of the big day so you are confident of the camera settings using the very dark filter.  So, we have been doing just that. DH took this one as our first attempt.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

This is a picture of the sun through the trees. The camera wants to focus on the trees so it comes out blurred, but the outline of the sun is visible.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

Forcing the focus to the brighter area, it decreases the light but the edge is now obscured by the trees.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

I did find that focusing on the edge of the sun gave a sharper line and amazingly a nice gradient color to the sun.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

If you are interested in the history of eclipses, the NASA website has a lot of interesting information, including interactive maps and major events in history occurring with total eclipses in the past.  Click on NASA Total Solar Eclipse.  The main NASA webpage, Eclipse 2017, has activities, resources, printable pinhole viewers, and information on experiencing the eclipse this year.  A day ahead, be sure to charge your camera battery (both of them), assemble your essentials, and get your snacks prepared.  Here’s hoping the crowds aren’t too bad and are well behaved.

What are your plans for the eclipse?

24 thoughts on “Preparing for the Eclipse

  1. Rosemaryflower

    the first think I need to do is reschedule dad’s doctor appointment that is a 2:30 that day – for another day!
    Then, we will sit around the club house at Ashby Ponds and see if there are any others that have cool equipment
    so that we can see too. We live in the 85% area, but it will be fun to watch, and later they will have it all over the tv, news papers and always has the spacey stuff live.
    You are all set

  2. Linda B

    Please be careful. We are right on the line, and will be watching the pics on the TV. No matter what they say, do not take your glasses off! Damaged eyesight is so serious.

  3. BJ

    We’re in the 95% band, so we’ll just hang out on the deck. Just cancelled my first order of supposedly approved sunglasses and ordered a set from a manufacturer recommended on, another good source for information. There are apparently a LOT of sunglasses being sold as approved that are, in fact, dangerous, so please, please check for
    approved manufacturers before you buy. Sad that companies can make money like this. Sounds like you’re ready for the big event. Enjoy!

  4. Kristi B

    Sounds fabulous! We have a hotel room booked in the totally zone in Eastern Oregon (we made the reservation a year and a half ago). My DH is an astronomy junkie! He’s been waiting for this since he was a teen in the 1980’s! Our plan is to arrive several days early and just hang out so we aren’t on the roads on the day of the big event. There will be a lot of people, it will be crazy…but it will be totally worth it!!!

  5. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole. Thank you for sharing this superb information; it appears we are in between the whole eclipse and the 95% section. That it amazing and so exciting, I will have to make sure I find everyone of us a pair of the sunwear protectors for our eyes. Deanna and I were talking about it yesterday and she is very excited also. Thank you for sharing all of this great and very useful information. Have a great day!

  6. We will likely just hang out since we are in the 95% plus zone. I’ll probably make an eclipse watcher…if I recall correctly, it is a pinhole in a piece of cardboard that allows you to “watch” the eclipse by observing a piece of paper. It was pretty slick if I remember correctly…designed for elementary kids, we were busy watching the paper so it was easy for the teacher to make sure heads were down instead of up.😄

  7. I haven’t seen this map….shoot we ARE in the 100% band! Since it’s our second day of school…I’ll be viewing it with 30 second graders! It should be an exciting day!

  8. This is really interesting, I hope you have a wonderful day! I looked everything up, we are in the 70% zone but I’ll be at work and my daughter will be at a nature camp, I’m going to give them a call and see if they’ll be setting anything up for the kids like making pinhole cameras.

  9. I wish you well on that day as I am sure you will be traveling with many, many other people with the same idea. I am going to be content with my projected 75% eclipse view. It will still be quite impressive.

  10. allisonreidnem

    We experienced an eclipse in the UK about 20 years ago. When the sun was hidden the light was very ‘flat’ creating an eerie atmosphere. The temperature dropped too so you might need to take a warm layer! It is an amazing experience.

  11. dezertsuz

    We are 5 miles away from totality, and could see 99.9%, but my son wants us to see 100%, so we are driving to my favorite quilt shop in Oak Ridge, because they have 100%! It will, no doubt, be a hot and humid day – if it isn’t raining, and I really hope it isn’t. The last one I could have seen, I was driving through a blizzard. LOL

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