After The Eclipse 3 Things, We Know for Next Time
On August 21, 2017, many people in the U.S. were able to experience the splendor of a total solar eclipse. Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that. But in the weeks and months leading up to this event, there was a lot of confusion about what would take place and how we should prepare.
Solar eclipse glasses? Do you have the right kind? When can you look? What is the risk? When will I see it? How long will it be dark? Ahhhh!!!!
If everything about the eclipse seemed like hype or if you were just ready to have a panic attack over trying to prepare, you were not alone.
Rather than waiting for the next solar eclipse in 2024 to educate ourselves on this type of event, I wanted to share some tips for you to take with you for the next one.
1. How you prepare depends on the “Path of Totality.”
Even though the eclipse was able to be seen across a lot of the country, different locations had entirely different experiences. Some places had the full effect of 2 minutes of darkness and other areas in the country were not able to see the eclipse at all. Most of the country was only able to see a partial eclipse.
For the partial eclipse crowd, it was mostly business as usual. Along the path of totality, big cities and small communities alike prepared for an influx of visitors who would drive for hours to take in the view. This led to traffic jams, school closings, and concerns over the availability of emergency services. A lot of employees took extended lunch breaks or vacation time affecting business in all sorts of ways.
Next time: You can plan ahead for the experience you want to have. If you don’t live in the path of totality, it might be worth making a trip to a spot along the path to view it. Individuals and city government along the path should anticipate their needs ahead of time to avoid concerns.
2. There is no need to panic
Solar eclipse viewing glasses either started out as an excellent idea for enjoying the experience or as someone looking to make a quick buck off the rest of us. Either way, it turned into a little bit of a circus. People started panicking that they needed to bring their pets inside and that being outside without these glasses would put our eyesight at risk.
Calm down, everybody. Here’s the bottom line: you only need glasses if you’re looking directly at the sun during the partial eclipse. You can take them off during totality, and you can keep them off to live your life otherwise. People have been outside during an eclipse since the dawn of time. An eclipse has never killed anybody.
Next time: Get your glasses months in advance to be sure they will be available. Read the guidelines provided by NASA or other authorities on the matter so you can be confident you are protecting your eyesight. And then just calm down about it, ok?
3. It’s more fun when it’s a party
A solar eclipse is a great opportunity for family and friends to get together with little to no fuss involved. No expensive tickets, long lines, or complicated technology required!
With the help of their parents, kids can create all kinds of crafts that allow them to view the eclipse safely. From cereal box pin-hole viewers to finding different household items that would make different shadows, there are so many simple and fun activities.
Next time: It doesn’t matter if you will be on the path of totality or just viewing a partial eclipse. Plan yourself a party or cookout and invite your favorite people over. And while you’re at it, invite someone who would probably otherwise be alone. Enjoying the experience together is what it’s all about!
Those are my three big takeaways. What are yours? Do you have the wisdom to share your experience with the 2017 solar eclipse? Leave me a comment below and tell me what I missed!
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