Just hearing about the total eclipse around the corner? Perhaps you’re a procrastinator, like us, in which case: there’s still time! We chatted with Point of Departure David Baron, an official eclipse chaser, who gave those of us in Colorado a few tips on how to plan up to the very last minute.

Courtesy of the Washington Post

What am I going to see?


Hmm, seriously — what is the big deal?!

This charming Vox animation will show you why it’s big deal.

Courtesy of Vox media

Imagine this: a 90% eclipse drops daylight by a factor of 10. That’s like a cloudy day — no big deal. A total eclipse drops daylight by a factor of a million. Even a 99% eclipse does not give the experience justice — the difference is like night and day!


Will it change my life?

David Baron, an umbraphile, seems to think so. He previously gave a talk on our stage, he authored a book, wrote an article or two, and curates a dedicated Facebook to this fascinating experience.


Okay okay: you’ve got me hooked. Where can I go?

Casey Miller and Ryan Mark created an interactive to help you out. It grabs your zip code and shows the exact path the moon will take across the sun for your area. You’ll also see when the eclipse will peak (i.e., reach maximum obscuration) in your area. Play around with it. It’s very cool.

Alternatively, you find the path of totality here.


I’m in the Denver area — what should I do? Can I still plan a trip to see the totality?

Yes. But hotels and campsites in many places along the totality are already booked — David planned three years ahead of time. Many eclipse chasers have had RVs and hotels booked for years. Try opening a search map of Airbnb on one screen and the map of the eclipse path on another.

Travel on the day of the eclipse may get dicey.

Government officials in Oregon are telling people to prepare to shelter in place, since the traffic may come to a gridlock. (“Really prepare yourself and be vigilant.” They warned that cellphone networks might be strained.) So, arrive early, state put, leave late.

Remember: The total eclipse is passing through plenty of rural stretches of America, too. If you want to beat the crowds, with some planning, you can find a place to stay or camp if you can get to the path of totality the night before. If you can’t make it, get up at midnight and drive North as far as you can. Plenty of communities are trying to accommodate fellow umbraphiles. Check out Alliance, Nebraska’s website. Carhenge allows you to park overnight and set camp in someone’s yard — with their permission of course! Call ahead so they know you’ll be joining them, too.


Prediction of total eclipse courtesy of predsci.com

Fine. But I don’t even have any eclipse viewing glasses!

Well don’t look at the sun — it can be pretty bad even for how dark it’ll be. But don’t worry if you don’t have glasses, luckily you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August! Woo!


What if it’s cloudy?

Always a risk.

If you’re feeling really anxious about picking out the “perfect” spot to view, you’ll want to find a place with little cloud cover. An eclipse during a cloud-covered day is still cool (it will get very, very dark), but you won’t be able to see the dark mask of the moon in front of the sun.

The weather, as you know, can be hard to predict. Here, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has crunched its data on the average cloud cover that typically occurs on August 21. The darker the dot, the greater the chance of clouds. “The chance for clearer skies appears greatest across the Intermountain West,” NOAA explains.


I really can’t make it to Nebraska. What’s my best option?

Don’t worry – there will be several more in your lifetime, just not in the same place. Check out this super-duper interactive graphic by the Washington Post which shows how many eclipses there will be in your life.


In case none of these answered your questions, David is taking some questions on Reddit!