So the big day – August 21, 2017 – is nearly here. Are you all ready for the 2017 total eclipse of the sun? It’s important to be prepared to take in everything the eclipse has to offer. You’ll be outside for hours and there are a number of things you can do to make yourself comfortable.
Eclipse Day Checklist
– Solar filters for your eyes (partial phases only; filters are removed during totality; and bring extra filters to share)
– Straw hat, kitchen pasta colander, or cooking spoon with small holes to project pinhole images of partially eclipsed sun on a white piece of cardboard (see: Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing)
– Suitable clothing and large brimmed hat (you will be outside in the sun for several hours)
– Sunglasses (not for direct viewing of partial phases)
– Comfortable folding chairs or picnic blanket to sit on
– Sunscreen lotion
– Bug repellent
– Basic first aid kit
– Cooler filled with water and drinks
– Snacks, sandwiches, etc.
– Roll of toilet paper (for emergencies)
– A list of your intended activities during the eclipse
– Times of the eclipse contacts for your location (can be found using the EclipseWise 2017 Google Eclipse Map).
– Digital watch or cell phone with accurate time (set on the day of eclipse)
– A printed copy of Stages of a Total Solar Eclipse to help you keep track of everything to watch during the eclipse
Equipment Checklist for Viewing and/or Photographing Eclipse
– Binoculars and/or small telescope
– Solar filters for binoculars and/or telescope
– Camera equipment and tripod
– Video camera and tripod
– Audio recorder for your comments and impressions or to capture reactions of people or wildlife near you
– Audio recorder with prerecorded messages timed to cue you about what to see next*
– Extra batteries for all of the above
– Pencil and paper to record impressions or to sketch (also to take down the names and addresses of fellow observers)
* there are some smart phone apps that do this (e.g., Solar Eclipse Timer or EclipseDroid)
You may also be interested in reading:
– Best Ways to View the Solar Eclipse
– Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing
– Stages of a Total Solar Eclipse
– What’s It Like to See a Total Solar Eclipse?
– Mr. Eclipse’s “How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse”
– Eclipse Photographer’s Checklist
Fred Espenak is a scientist emeritus at Goddard Space Flight Center. For decades, he has been NASA's expert on eclipses, and some of you may know him as Mr. Eclipse. Fred maintains NASA's official eclipse web site (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov) as well as his personal web site on eclipse photography (mreclipse.com). Now retired and living in rural Arizona, Fred spends most clear nights losing sleep and photographing the stars (astropixels.com). His latest website is devoted to helping you enjoy eclipses (www.eclipsewise.com). He is an EarthSky content partner.