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A Dummies Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you should be well aware that the ‘Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017’ is just days away. And by now (actually, by a long time ago), if you didn’t book accommodations somewhere in the path of totality – you’ll most likely be stuck in Seattle. There’s no need to worry folks, you’ll still get a stellar view.

Just in case you’re in need of a quick eclipse lesson, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s just nerd out for a minute.

This celestial extravaganza will march across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. A partial eclipse will unfold in the skies all across Washington state, ranging from about 87 percent coverage in Blaine, Whatcom County, to more than 99 percent in Camas, Clark County. In Seattle, about 92 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon. For Seattle, the eclipse will begin at 9:08 a.m., reach maximum coverage at 10:21 a.m. and be over by 11:39 a.m.

OK (phew), you got that? You’ll still get to see something rare and magical, and you won’t get stuck in the massive pending traffic jam. How rare you ask? The next solar eclipse of this magnitude won’t happen again until April 8, 2024. That's when, according to NASA, a total solar eclipse will once again cross the country. It will come up from Mexico through Texas and on to New York and Maine, finally leaving land in Newfoundland.

And don't even think about watching this magical event without protective eye-wear. In all seriousness, please don’t go blind. NASA is urging viewers to wear special solar eclipse-approved sunglasses to protect your eyes. This is no joke. Just check out this Eclipse 101 Safety Guide. If you haven’t purchased any yet, good luck cause those little gems are going quick. You can always attempt to make your own, which isn’t my jam, but if you’re interested here’s a guide to help you along the way.

There are also a ton of places all around town hosting eclipse viewing parties on Monday August 21:

  • Fourteen branches of the Seattle Public Library will show the NASA livestream coverage of the solar eclipse.
  • Paying visitors can watch the livestream at the Museum of Flight’s auditorium or at the Pacific Science Center, which will open at 8:30 a.m. on eclipse day. The science center will also host an eclipse-viewing event and provide eclipse glasses with admission to the first 800 visitors.
  • The Museum of Flight will host a free viewing event on the lawn, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with NASA and museum staff on hand. Free eclipse glasses will be available to the first 1,000 visitors.
  • Hotel Sorrento will be serving complimentary coffee, tea, juices and croissants in the Garden while guests watch the moon make its way across the sun. The hotel will not be providing eclipse-viewing eye-wear so guests should plan on bringing their own to safely look at the sun.
  • Head to the Smith Tower open-air observation deck. Tickets are available starting at 8:30 a.m. Specialty “Eclipse” mimosas and coffee are available. Once again, bring your own eye-wear.

Several community centers across Seattle will host outdoor viewing parties. Free eclipse glasses will be available as long as supplies last. (I’d bring my own if I were you!)

  • Bryant Neighborhood Playground, 40th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 65th Street, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St., 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • South Park Community Center, 8319 Eighth Ave. S., 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Northgate Branch, 10548 Fifth Ave. N.E., 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The good news is, NASA will be streaming the eclipse online in real time so in all reality, you don’t even need to leave the house.

The even better news – we’ve created an eclipse playlist for you. You’re welcome.

  • Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler (duh, this is obvious)
  • Cosmic Love - Florence And The Machine
  • It’s The End Of The World As We Know It - R.E.M (because, just in case)
  • Space Jam - Quad City DJ’s
  • Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
  • Black Hole Sun - Sound Garden
  • Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
  • Starboy - Daft Punk and The Weeknd
  • Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra
  • Space Cowboy - ‘N Sync (gotta end on a high note ya'll)

Party on! I'll be in Salem, Oregon attending a "Total Eclipse of the Garden" party. AKA I'm about to spend hours upon hours in traffic. Wish me luck! For all your 2017 Solar Eclipse needs head to NASA, because obviously they are a lot smarter than me. Well, a lot smarter than basically everyone.

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