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

Current up-date is Aug 8, 2016. See below.

Also provided at the bottom of this page 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 look here:
2017 Aug 21 Solar Eclipse

The following gives an idea of what we have arranged so far and will be updated periodically with new information.

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: 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. 

Screen shot 2016-06-05 at 2.17.16 PM

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.

3. The high definition zoomable track map is here at the Mr. Eclipse website of Fred Espenak:
NOTE: this is a big file -be patient.

4. Lots more on Espenak's site, of course...http:// and

5. Bunches of maps from Michael Zeiler here:

6. Grand Island NE KOA campsite; GI KOA