Aug 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse Page
Mar 29, 2006 Solar Eclipse Montage from Antalya Turkey by J.Hlynialuk
This page will provide updates on plans that are currently being made by BAS to view the
"Great American" 2017 Solar Eclipse
Also provided at the bottom of this page (and in the sidebar) will be links to maps of the ground track, weather predictions, campsite info, etc. that might be useful if you are planning your own trip or taking part in the BAS expedition to the Grand Island, NE. KOA campsite that we have reserved at this point for the Aug 19 to 22, eclipse weekend.
For a quick but extensive preview of the eclipse provided by EarthSky.org look here:
2017 Aug 21 Solar Eclipse
April 1, 2017 update. (with some changes Apr 20)
Additional information was sent around to participants individually by email.
Only 140 days [122 as of April 20...] left to go before we leave for Nebraska! Holy Smokes, time sure flies.
There have been a lot of concerns about border crossing raised recently in light of the new border policy that has been rejected and re-instated and rejected again. It looks like we need to be a lot more careful about our deportment at the border in light of these policies which seems to have emboldened the border folks to a large extent. Technically, they could always deny access to the US to anyone without any reason being given, but things have changed now with Trump's "permission" for them to be more nit-picky (assuming the stories we read are true). I am sure you have read about cases of even normal Canadian citizens, (read white, beardless, and totally innocent) being questioned for several hours or even denied access to the US. Having said that, officials are wont to quote stats that say less than 1/10 of 1 percent of Canadians have been denied access. Some even blame the media for creating a "flap" by focusing on examples of Canadians of Muslim origin or appearance who have been hassled or turned back. Still, it does not appear to be business as usual like the old days when it was just a formality to cross and usually took less than 5 minutes once you got to the wicket.
We are especially interested in the crossing at Sarnia-Port Huron as that is where most of us will cross and Joan Skelton has sent me an article from the local paper as well as one from the Fort Erie crossing that you should read to give you a sense of what is going on as normal Canadians try to enter the US. You will find them at the links here: Sarnia Journal and here: Hamilton Spectator And a very good article from CBC news with more general information is here: Search and Interrogate. I am sure there are other stories out there as well. Please send them to me as you find them.
Make sure you re-read the Nov 11 update with respect to passport requirements, etc. and the need to register your equipment on the Canadian side before you cross into the US.
In other news, I will soon place a weather link for Grand Island NE, [see above], so you can check weather at our observing site. Obviously, if you have the Weather Network app on your cell phone, you can add Grand Is. to your personal list.
Note that StarGazerNews is doing a series of articles on the basics of solar eclipses. The Jan SGN had two articles, Doug's story of the August 11, 1999 eclipse in Turkey and Lesson 1 of Solar Eclipse Basics: Why Eclipses Happen. The February 2017 issue had Lesson 2: Basic Photography and the March 2017 SGN had Lesson 3: Imaging Through a Telescope. Lesson 4 in the May SGN will deal with Solar Filters. Incidentally, I have purchased another sheet of Baader solar film from Kendrick Instruments and have four 25x25 cm squares still available at $25 each along with instructions on how to handle the stuff and make a DIY solar filter for your telescopes or binoculars. Contact me at my regular email if you want one or more. I do not expect to purchase additional sheets.
We still have a trailer site available that is unclaimed and I will have to cancel that reservation by June 1 or so. Please let me know if you are interested before then. [Note added Apr 20 -the third trailer site has now been reserved by one of our group]
Anyway, plans continue on track and hopefully the border will be not be as big an issue as the media has been reporting. I will of course, continue to monitor the situation and report back to you.
Previous Update: Nov 11, 2016 update.
Nov 11 Update was sent around individually and had additional details for participants.
Only 282 days left to go before we leave for Nebraska!
Here is an update on our plans so far for the Aug 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse Trip.
At this point there are 29 confirmed participants with two additional possible. No additional participants will be added due to the capacity of the campground unless someone drops out. I am maintaining a waiting list if there is someone you know interested.
There has been one change of plan regarding one of the three RV sites (at $54 US per day). This has become available (2 remain reserved by our members). If you have a camper that can utilize this third site, let me know asap and I can book it for your use.
[Note added Apr 20 -the third trailer site has now been reserved by one of our group]
There are some things that are worth mentioning at this point because they may take some time to sort out given the time that some (i.e. most) government departments take to get paperwork done.
Canadian passports are required
First of all, Canadian passports are needed for all Canadians crossing into the US and they need to be up-to-date and valid well past Aug 2017. There is a rumour that the border guards get picky about passports that expire 6 months past the date of crossing but I have not been able to confirm this. To be safe, make sure they are OK until Feb 2018 (7 months past trip date). I will let you know if I find out more.
Register personal equipment before crossing into USA
You will also need to consider registering equipment like binoculars, cameras and telescopes at a Canadian Border Services Office before you cross into the US. There is no problem bringing stuff into the US, but getting it back into Canada on return my cause issues. Generally you have to prove that the stuff you have was purchased in Canada and not being imported from the US. The onus is on you to prove that you purchased the stuff before you entered the US. So cameras, telescopes, expensive eyepieces, etc. need to be registered before you enter the US. This can be done at a Canada Border Services Office. I don't think we have one that I know of in Owen Sound, but there are offices in Barrie, K-W, London and Sarnia.You have to physically bring the equipment into the office and show the guy there the serial number or some identifying marks and have him record the info in a document that you then take with you as proof of purchase in Canada. I plan to contact them myself shortly and I will let you know what I find out. There is the option of going into the CSBA office at the border crossing and doing it just before you cross, but give yourself some extra time if you have lots of equipment.
I am attaching a document and a link about this below with more details.
Please send fees to Cheryl or John
Also, I would like to start collecting the fees for the accommodations we have reserved in Grand Is KOA. Considering the group campsite only (not camper/RV sites) we have reserved for 3 nights at $11 US per person for each night Aug 19 to 22. This is a per-head fee for the group site and the final number will be adjusted on arrival. Fee amount details have been sent out via individual emails. Cheques made out to BAS are preferred. Please send to:
363568 Lindenwood Rd.
RR#2 Kemble ON,
or to me:
635 1st ST E,
Owen Sound ON
List of participants
[Participants have been contacted by email with mutual contact information. Contact email@example.com if you want to be placed on the waiting list.]
Please note that one of our group Bill Klein <Kleinchalet@gmail.com> has need of a ride and would share driving costs, of course. He plans to tent in the group site. If any one can accommodate him please contact Bill directly and CC:me so I can update my records.
And finally, here is a link to an interesting article about solar eclipses from the experienced eclipse chaser Mike Kentrianakis. He provides good advice (and links of his own) about solar eclipses in general and about the Aug eclipse in particular. His video of the 2016 Mar 9 total that he observed from a plane over the Pacific is a must see. It will give you an idea of what babbling fools we all become when one of these spectacles overwhelms us.
d2-6-5-eng.pdf and “How to Avoid Problems...when you return..”
Aug 8 (update): BAS Solar Eclipse Plans:
Things are progressing well and we now have pretty much filled the spaces available with interested participants. Total to date is 28 bodies (all or most are BAS members and family). All three camper sites have been spoken for. It does not look like there will be any need to advertise outside of BAS for participants, but there may be last-minute changes so let me know if you would like to be on the waiting list.
Recently at Starfest, I learned that a group of NYAA members are also planning to go to the very same campground and earlier I heard that a group from a Maritime RASC centre is also going to be there so, it looks like a pretty full contingent of Canadian stargazers will be at the Grand Is. KOA.
If you are planning to go to Starfest next year, note that NYAA has set the dates for July 20-23 and not in August. Both events want NM in the sky and the eclipse, of course, takes precedence!
I have been watching weather patterns in the area and even had some first-hand experiences on a recent trip through some of the states just north of our eclipse location. It was not pretty. There were torrential rains in the mid-west that affected roads (water 6-inches deep on I-80 near Chicago!) and even hail fell in Rapid City S. Dakota. This was in late July and somewhat unusual I suspect. But we need to be aware that climate change has affected weather patterns and that we need to be prepared to travel on eclipse day if clouds prevail.
I am ordering another sheet of Baader solar film soon so get your requests in for 25 cm squares if you want to make your own solar filters. Price will be about the same.
A complete list of participants is being sent out by separate email.
May 26 (update):
This update was sent out to BAS members only on May 26:
Club members have first crack at signing up for the eclipse trip if you have not done so already. [A list was sent out to members -ed]. If you are on this list, please let me know asap if there are any additions (spouses, etc) or other corrections to make. At this point there are 20 signed up indicating interest.
We have one more camper site available and a several tent sites. I plan to cut off the group tent site reservations at about 20. If there is someone you know that might be interested, please let them know to contact me and I can put those people on a waiting list after BAS members have had a chance to book up.
As you know, BAS plans to travel to Grand Is. NE. for the Aug 21, 2017 solar eclipse. We have settled on the KOA near Grand Is. NE. (link to the website: http://koa.com/campgrounds/grand-island/ Click on "Tent Camping Sites" on the right side of the Home page and then select "Tent Village No Hookups" to see the site I am describing. Map of the campground with trailer site locations and our group site (lower left corner) is attached below. We have determined that this is an ideal site (weather-wise, location on exact centre of track, conveniences including Free Wi-Fi, etc.). The location is a short hop south of the I-80 which gives us access to a good travel route if we need to travel because of weather. And it is only 18 km to Grand Is. NE. pop. 48 500.
The fee is $11 per person per night for the group campsite that can accommodate 20 to 30 people in tents (the 30 people max. #. might be a bit crowded). And at this time, I have also arranged for three camper/trailer sites (2 @ 42.64 per night US$ and one at $54.24 US incl. water, & elect,) just across the road from the group site for those that want to bring campers. Two of these have been spoken for, already, so let me know if you want the third one. The camper sites have electricity and we hope to be able to run an extension cord to our group site during the eclipse, but, we should be prepared to use batteries for the scopes, a necessity if we need to move if clouds are an issue on eclipse day.
It is a 1757 km trip from Owen Sound (via interstate highways in the US) and we have booked the site for Aug 19 to 22 (3 nights) so plan to arrive mid-afternoon Sat Aug 19. The eclipse is Aug 21(Mon) and we leave the morning after the eclipse (Tue) Aug 22. On your drive to NE, plan on an overnight enroute so you arrive on Aug 19. Check in time at the KOA is after 1 pm local time (CST) . If you are on your own and would like to buddy up with someone, let me (John H.) know. I will provide a list of names and you make your own arrangements. I am organizing the site details and not the trip there and back home.
So far I have 20 people (18 tenters, 2 trailers) that have indicated interest and that would be around $600 US (for those in the group site) for the 3-night duration. The camper sites are not included in this amount and they average about $50 US a night.
The group tenting site is getting full but can accommodate another 2 or 3 people and there is only one more camper site.
Grand Is. KOA has a pool, 24 hr showers, bike rental, cafe, laundromat, and free Wi-Fi which will be invaluable when we need weather forecasts. The group tent area is in the SE corner of the property and the camper sites are just across the road. North is to the right in diagram below so we have an unobstructed view to the south on eclipse day. The Sun will be 60 degrees high at mid-eclipse so it should be well clear of any trees in any case.
April 1: BAS Solar Eclipse Plans:
The first solar eclipse that crosses the US/Canada since 1979 (38 years ago!) will happen on Monday Aug 21, 2017. There have been annular eclipses seen in North America in May 1984, May 1994 and a good total in July 1991 that crossed Mexico, but this is the first total solar eclipse to happen in a long time. Of course, BAS has starting planning for a trip to the centre of the ground track to observe it.
BAS exec decided on a weeklong camping trip to a location near the centre of the track. We have settled on a KOA campground just south of Grand Island, Nebraska located exactly on the central line of the track. This part of the midwest is also where cloud cover percentages for that day are about 50% as opposed to higher values for the eastern (and closer to us) part of the track in the Appalachian area. The distance to Grand Island, NE is 1757 km one way and constitutes an easy two-day drive along Interstate highways. A check of weather on that day back to 1995 showed only 3 days of rain or serious cloudy weather, so the 50% figure is misleading.
At this point we have been able to reserve a group campsite that will accommodate 20 to 30 people (the high end might be crowded). We have reserved for 4 days/3 nights Saturday Aug 19, Sunday Aug 20, Monday Aug 21 (eclipse day) and departure Tuesday Aug 22 morning. The total trip duration would be from Friday Aug 18 (am) to Wed night Aug 23 or 6 days total.
Since the KOA campground is within the track, we would only need to move if the weather were an issue. There is a link to the campsite below. It is a well-equipped facility but note that the group campsite does not have electrical hookups so be prepared to operate accordingly. It does have free Wi-Fi, however which will be important for weather information.
Please let us know as soon as you can if you are interested in joining the group. Send an email to Brett T or John H. We already have 20 interested members and at this stage only BAS members and families are being put on the list.
Here are links to track maps, cloud maps, etc. that we are using in our planning:
1. Fifty Year Canon of Solar Eclipses 1986-2035 (Fred Espenak) NASA reference publication 1178: pg 211: SE2017-08-21 map and data
2. The weather map from Jay Anderson. http://eclipsophile.com/total-solar-eclipses/total-solar-eclipse-2017-august-21/
3. The high definition zoomable track map is here at the Mr. Eclipse website of Fred Espenak: http://eclipse-maps.com/Eclipse-Maps/Welcome_files/2017_LongMap_125dpi.jpg
NOTE: this is a big file -be patient.
4. Lots more on Espenak's site, of course...http://www.mreclipse.com/MrEclipse.html and
5. Bunches of maps from Michael Zeiler here: http://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/
6. Grand Island NE KOA campsite; GI KOA