Rare Total Solar Eclipse Set to Cross Oregon in 2017

The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, in partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), is helping residents and visitors prepare in advance for next year’s total solar eclipse – the first in the contiguous United States since 1979 – which will make its way across the state on Aug. 21, 2017.
During a total solar eclipse (aka totality), the sun, the moon and the Earth align in such a way that the moon completely blocks out the sun, creating a dark shadow for several minutes. This eclipse will cross the entire length of the country on a 90-mile-wide path, known as the Path of Totality, beginning on the West Coast near Depoe Bay, Oregon, and ending on the East Coast near Charleston, South Carolina.
“This will be the first total solar eclipse to cross Oregon since February 1979,” said Jim Todd, director of space science education at OMSI. “We have been preparing here at OMSI for this epic event and are excited to start sharing important information about the total eclipse with our visitors.”
OMSI has special eclipse-related programming planned for the science center and will host a viewing event at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem the morning of the eclipse.
According to OMSI, cities that are closest to the center of the “Path of Totality” will have the best viewing opportunities, particularly those east of the Cascade Range, where clear skies are most likely. The eclipse will begin at 10:15 a.m. on the coast, and will leave Eastern Oregon near the border of Baker and Malheur counties at 10:24 a.m. The total eclipse will last approximately two minutes when viewed from any given point within the Path of Totality in Oregon. Unlike other solar events, total eclipses are safe to view, but experts recommend keeping solar eclipse glasses handy. Good viewing spots include parks, hilltops, stadiums and fairgrounds.
The state of Oregon is preparing for local, national and even international interest in this event and is expecting an influx of visitors and viewers who want to experience totality.
“This is an exciting and rare solar event, and we’re thrilled that Oregonians and our guests will have the opportunity to see the event in Oregon first,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “Eclipse enthusiasts in Oregon will enjoy a myriad of prime viewing opportunities on the varied terrain that graces the Path of Totality through our great state. Many of the best viewing areas are relatively remote and have limited accommodations, so we encourage visitors to reserve hotel rooms now, and book campsites as soon as reservations at our state parks open in November. We want everyone to enjoy this amazing cosmic wonder and to ensure they take time to prepare and stay safe.”
In addition to the OMSI program in Salem, other communities are also planning events to celebrate the eclipse, including the Solar Fest in Madras, the Oregon Star Party in the Ochoco Mountains and a Symbiosis Gathering near Mitchell. Visitors and residents can find out more at TravelOregon.com/Eclipse and GreatAmericanEclipse.com/Oregon.