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Discussion: Eclipse chasing

in: Orienteering; General

Mar 25, 2024 1:23 PM # 
2 weeks out the extended forecast for Gouverneur, NY (Total Solar Eclipse Rogaine) is saying considerable cloudiness with a little rain.

Meanwhile the extended forecast for Oxford, OH (Total Eclipse of the Pig) is saying mostly sunny.
Mar 25, 2024 8:59 PM # 
I'm doing the NY Ohio it's an invitation to hang around in the area, right? No actual event during the eclipse?

[Not optimistic about the weather in either place that time of year.]
Mar 25, 2024 10:34 PM # 
When I finish running on Sunday in Ohio, I'll have a full tank of gas and will be ready to head whichever direction looks most promising. Cincinnati is nicely central.

(Anybody who has seen a total solar eclipse knows that the only thing you want to be doing during a total solar eclipse is watching the total solar eclipse.)
Mar 26, 2024 9:38 AM # 
Agreed. Do not imagine doing anything else. Once in my life and I didn't have to go past the balcony of the residence I was inhabiting.
Mar 26, 2024 10:32 AM # 
Does that mean I'll be seeing you in the car park of the Glenrowan McDonald's on Boxing Day 2038? (Somewhere south of Bourke in July 2028 is looking OK, too).
Mar 26, 2024 11:23 AM # 
I have seen mine. From the balcony in 1976. I think you may need to catch up. I have had my eye on Bourke but 2038 might be a bit of a stretch.
Mar 26, 2024 11:25 AM # 
Canberra wasn't quite in the totality zone for 1976 (which is probably why my parents wouldn't let me go outside during it).
Mar 26, 2024 11:25 AM # 
I have had my eye on Bourke but 2038 might be a bit of a stretch like Shark Bay was, for different reasons. My point was that if you are in the vicinity of an eclipse, you won't be doing anything but watching.
Mar 26, 2024 3:26 PM # 
For July 2028 the eclipse centerline passes between the Sydney CBD and the airport, and central Sydney sounds a far easier place to reach than Bourke. But I assume Blair's place preference takes cloud likelihood into account?
Mar 26, 2024 7:27 PM # 
Indeed (although if you wanted to absolutely optimise the chances of a cloud-free day, the north of Western Australia would be the best option).
Mar 26, 2024 7:51 PM # 
So ok... at the risk of starting a thing. Is it really worth it? I was not planning on sticking around Ohio after the Sunday race. Should i change plans?
Mar 26, 2024 7:56 PM # 
Mar 26, 2024 8:37 PM # 
Is it worth it? If you are asking the question it probably isn't for you.
I was pretty close to the total shadow that Carly Simon sang about and it barely interrupted our baseball game.
However, I have a brother-in-law who travels the world to see these total eclipses. He must be ecstatic that this one is brushing so close to home.
If I had to choose:Solar Eclipse or Northern Lights I would choose the latter every time.
Mar 26, 2024 10:21 PM # 
lucky for you they rarely happen at the same time
Mar 27, 2024 1:14 AM # 
The Flying Pig Races are Friday, Saturday, Sunday. The Eclipse is Monday afternoon. As JJ points out, the Cincinnati area is an ideal location to be able to use the 24+ hours after the last race to drive either direction along the path in search of clearer skies.

Our eclipse viewing party will be at a farm with 3:31 of totality. There is a large park-like lawn with plenty of shade for hanging out before or after the totality, and wide open flat agricultural fields where people can spread out with their viewing optics and cameras. We already have over 100 orienteers and family members registered to stay for the viewing, so it will be a fun social time as well. There will be an indoor restroom and a portable toilet. The first 400 Flying Pig entrants will get a pair of eclipse viewing glasses in their registration packet.

What to bring: lawn chairs and/or blanket/beach towels/sleeping bags, plenty of drinks and snacks. You MUST have your ticket and vehicle parking pass (be sure to select these when you register for the meet).

The eclipse is in late afternoon. The area around the farm has a pretty good grid system of rural roads to north-south and east-west, which should allow a reasonable escape to the south or east. You'll want a room reservation nearby for Monday night, preferably to the south (Liberty, Oxford, Brookville, perhaps Hamilton or Harrison). Going north to I-70, expect traffic gridlock / bottlenecks at Richmond and at the widely spaced entrances to I-70. See the Indiana State Police eclipse travel advice.

Flying Pig Event registration is still open but will close Wednesday night. We are also waiving the late fees up through the close of registration. Event information.
Mar 27, 2024 4:28 AM # 
Gord wrote: "I was pretty close to the total shadow that Carly Simon sang about and it barely interrupted our baseball game. If I had to choose:Solar Eclipse or Northern Lights I would choose the latter every time."

Pretty close? Then you totally missed it. 99% eclipsed sounds like a lot, and things seem noticeably dimmed, but it's nowhere near 100%. You still need the glasses at 99.99% eclipsed. Once it goes total, the glasses come off, and you can see the corona, and the... well, if you haven't seen it, you wouldn't understand. And if you have, you do.

I have a friend who is a well-known professional astronomer. In 1991 she was in Hawaii with other astronomers when there was an eclipse. All of these people knew exactly what to expect, in an intellectual sense. But she said when totality hit, they were all still brought to their knees.

So my recommendation, Boris, would be yes. But on the other hand, if it's cloudy, it's pretty much a bust.
Mar 27, 2024 5:55 AM # 
2002 in Lyndhurst, there was a proper four day music festival and everything! My sister got bored after the first day and left, totally missing the eclipse (day 2 or 3 I think). Good times.
Mar 27, 2024 8:02 PM # 
Boris, Eddie and JJ are right. It is worth it.
We drove to South Carolina for the 2017 total eclipse; I was skeptical but it was amazing. It seems crazy to dedicate so much time/effort for a few minutes, but you should experience it. So cool.
Also Mike's travel advice is important. Leaving SC heading back to DC was a massive hours-long traffic jam (the GPS would lead us off to some side road, which would be great for a while but then the traffic would catch up to us. Repeat.).
Mar 28, 2024 1:57 PM # 
I've been thinking VT, Craftsbury is right in the total path, and I have place to stay, but the traffic warnings are keeping me away.
Mar 28, 2024 2:58 PM # 
Agree that near totality or a regular partial eclipse are a completely different experience than a total eclipse. As my grandpa would say, it’s like horseshoes…being close doesn’t count.

At the same time, it’s a lot of effort with a decent risk cloudiness.

Very cool that Flying Pig has organized an event after the races on the totality line.
Mar 28, 2024 3:38 PM # 
When I was a child, my parents drove us 2,000 km to see a total solar eclipse in Nova Scotia and built a family vacation around it. That was 1972 and I have vivid memories of the minutes of totality. Definitely worth it for me.
Mar 28, 2024 3:55 PM # 
Well, I just ordered eclipse viewing glasses, so I think I might be sold.
Mar 28, 2024 4:53 PM # 
Ok, y'all have convinced me. I extended the trip through the eclipse and am bringing Inara now.
Mar 28, 2024 5:20 PM # 
Anytime you bring Inara that makes your trip worth it for everyone else. She is such a treat to watch her orienteering skills.
Mar 30, 2024 3:27 PM # 
As you might expect the forecast continues to change. This morning April 8 scrolled into the 10-day forecast window and at present it looks like the tables have flipped.

10-day forecast for Gouverneur, NY is showing about 15% cloud cover at eclipse time.

10-day forecast for Liberty, IN is showing about 40% cloud cover at eclipse time.
Mar 30, 2024 7:42 PM # 
Bit too late to the party but just to confirm your recent purchase Boris - yup! One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. Do it!
Apr 2, 2024 5:40 PM # 
Excellent glasses detail page, with a link to a list of suppliers and retailers.
Apr 2, 2024 9:33 PM # 
The glasses being provided in Flying Pig Registration packets were made by American Paper Optics (on the list of suppliers cited by Hughmac4), and purchased through the Planetary Society (Bill Nye, CEO).
Apr 3, 2024 1:03 AM # 
Forecast is cloudy and rainy.
Apr 3, 2024 5:41 AM # 
Not everywhere.
Apr 5, 2024 3:02 PM # 
This is a good site for eclipse weather predictions. Best viewing is from Vermont north and east, and a secondary maxima from Ohio to Arkansas, although a bit more questionable. What we learned from 2017 is pick somewhere central and be ready to drive to clear skies, then monitor satellite maps as you go (car-orienteering). Bonus points if centrality has an orienteering race the weekend before. It was 100% worthwhile … something that won't be back on the continent until 2044.

@Coach I don't think the traffic going up is going to be too bad, and coming back will likely be bad on Monday afternoon but fine by Tuesday as people filter home. So if you can stay Monday night, I wouldn't worry about the traffic. Especially since it will be a bunch of Flatlanders who won't know where they are because the cell towers will be overwhelmed, so I doubt many of them will even find their way to Craftsbury.
Apr 5, 2024 9:12 PM # 
Go up there and stay a few days, Jeff. It's worth it. As a bonus, they have snow!
Apr 6, 2024 2:15 AM # 
Apr 6, 2024 2:22 AM # 
The snow is disappearing quickly, but they groomed everything today. The ground isn't frozen so things are melting quickly.
There's going to be a crowd at the center for the eclipse, all the cabins and cottages are full.
Apr 6, 2024 4:33 AM # 
Be sure you have paper maps. The normal GPS navigation apps and cell towers will likely be overwhelmed.
Apr 6, 2024 9:21 PM # 
You can just download a saved map to your app (eg Google Maps). The GPS signal itself works fine with no Internet at all.
Apr 6, 2024 9:40 PM # 
Cell phones tend to locate themselves by cell towers when possible, rather than using GPS, but the cell traffic probably doesn't really affect that. And I doubt navigation apps use anywhere near the bandwidth of a lot of other things. You might have trouble watching YouTube en route.
Apr 6, 2024 10:15 PM # 
Correct, but if there's a problem you can put it on airplane mode and the GPS signal will still work to locate the phone with.
Apr 7, 2024 12:40 AM # 
Yep. My guess it it would do that by itself if it couldn't get info from the towers. Wyatt is the real expert on this. It for sure works when driving in remote places with no cell coverage.
Apr 7, 2024 1:46 PM # 
The number of times I've downloaded a Google offline map and then had the damned thing refuse to give me directions when I've not had a signal is maddening. Perhaps I should try airplane mode in that instance.
Apr 8, 2024 6:20 AM # 
Leaving Hueston Woods around 11 AM Sunday, I encountered no traffic whatsoever along the path of totality and reached my destination in Vermont a little after 2 AM. It felt like Y2K all over again. Maybe Monday will be different.

The navigation app worked fine, of course, even in the section through the Adirondacks when I couldn't stream music because there was no cell service.
Apr 8, 2024 12:22 PM # 
NO LONGER TRUE below! iOS 17 fixed that PITA

tRicky said:
The number of times I've downloaded a Google offline map and then had the damned thing refuse to give me directions when I've not had a signal is maddening. Perhaps I should try airplane mode in that instance.

Indeed! That's an important point: Google Maps does the direction piece at Google, not on your Phone, so if you want directions make sure to get them loaded while you still have cell internet service.

Good luck to everyone on the hunt today! I'll be setting up a binocular pinhole camera on the back porch, and crossing my fingers for clear skies.
Apr 8, 2024 2:23 PM # 
Well that's dumb.
Apr 8, 2024 3:03 PM # 
Not sure if that is true though, download the map, then go to airplane mode, then ask for directions, I think it works.
Apr 8, 2024 5:43 PM # 
You're right, @igor_! Apparently Apple fixed that glaringly-broken part of their app in iOS 17, not sure when Google got on board. Nice. Thanks for making me check it out (and in the process, re-download all of my Offline Maps).
Apr 9, 2024 1:07 AM # 
We had wonderful conditions in Ohio on the farm. A few high thin clouds, but mostly clear skies. The eclipse was a magical experience . Thanks OCIN for arranging this!
Apr 9, 2024 1:36 AM # 
Yay! I'm so glad that worked out! Great conditions in northern New England as well.
Apr 9, 2024 10:50 AM # 
It was really good in Florida, too, on television. Saw the eclipse from several places including 20,000 feet above Arkansas and the Space Station. What a shadow that eclipse cast across the planet!
But good on y'all for preservering to see the total eclipse live!
Apr 9, 2024 1:57 PM # 
That huge solar flare (I guess it is) at the 7 o'clock position in J-J's picture from Vermont was a conspicuous bright-red bump even with the naked eye in our view from Liberty, Indiana. (Although with the naked eye I missed the two smaller flares at 4 o'clock and 10 o'clock that are captured in the picture.) That just added to the magic, as did seeing Venus and Jupiter flanking the sun on either side. And of course the corona, which I must say had feathery detail that the naked eye captured better than the photo. As maprunner said, it ended up being great conditions at the gathering that the Cincinnati club organized; it was delightful sharing the experience with a bunch of orienteering friends. Thanks to the Knollman family for having us on their farm! And of course thanks to OCinn for a great weekend of orienteering capped by this finale.
Apr 9, 2024 6:58 PM # 
Flying Pig Eclipse Party photos. Mostly of the gathering. If anyone has cool or spectacular photos taken at the Pig party and would allow them to be posted on our OCIN photo page, please share them with me. The very bright red dot of that flare was really impressive to the naked eye.
Apr 9, 2024 7:13 PM # 
I ended up locating in the Walmart parking lot in Newport, VT, with a few thousand other folks, many of whom came armed with a wide variety of photographic and telescopic equipment as well as various combinations of both. Many were quite accommodating and even eager to allow strangers to peer through their devices. (Shades of the Lunatic Club at the Mt. Sutton rogaine in the early 90's, for those like JJ who would remember that evening.) Many were drawn easterly due to the cloud cover forecast maps.

One quick-thinking mother had her young daughters playing the state license plate game while touring the parking lot. My guess after a quick perusal of their records is that close to half of the states were represented.

The weather in that location was stellar. It's good to hear the OCIN site panned out after going in various directions in the forecasts. I had a ticket reserved for there but fell ill last week and abandoned the Pig trip while I sat home recovering. No reports yet from anyone at the rogaine in Gouverneur, NY, but I've heard from multiple folks who watched from Potsdam, a bit east of there, that the worrying cloud cover cleared enough at the right time for the full show to be witnessed there. Hopefully the same occurred in Gouverneur.

As expected, getting home required patience and flexibility. When cell data signal finally returned after the parking lot was ~ 3/4 empty, google map offered that my best route home was to drive straight back down the eclipse path to Watertown and take I-81 south from there. Once out of Newport and clear of the I-91-bound hordes, traffic thinned steadily and it eventually became clear sailing going west. That was good for a while but eventually I ran out of oomph and stopped for the night in Potsdam. Back on the road this morning and it was only a typically busy day until Watertown, but then I-81 was "Eclipse Traffic Part III -- The Morning After". Fortunately it was moving along reasonably well, but never in my life have I seen traffic like that between Watertown and Syracuse. I can only imagine what it must have been like last night.
Apr 9, 2024 7:22 PM # 
Oh, hmm, looking at AP logs it appears that the clouds that parted just in time in Potsdam must have relocated to Gouverneur at just the wrong time. That's unfortunate for those there.
Apr 9, 2024 9:26 PM # 
Good weather in Arkansas too!

Thanks o-maps for answering a mystery for us (the solar flare!). We also saw the two planets.
Apr 9, 2024 10:10 PM # 
Apr 9, 2024 11:03 PM # 
The solar prominence was so red that even a colorblind guy like me could see it!
Apr 10, 2024 12:48 AM # 
We had a sunny-blue sky day in Gouverneur... except for the 20 minutes surrounding totality. A bummer, but still cool to experience 3 minutes of near total darkness in the woods in the middle of the day.
Apr 10, 2024 4:35 AM # 
2026 and 2027 Spain
July 2028 - Australia
My mind is boggling that the island of Ibiza (or thereabouts) will get two total solar eclipses in a 12 month period.
Apr 10, 2024 9:11 AM # 
The paths of the 2028 and 2030 eclipses cross near Bourke, and 2037 and 2038 in the WA outback east of Wiluna.
Apr 10, 2024 4:00 PM # 
Yeah, what KFish said about the NCO event near Gouverneur. The weather was excellent for the event (50s or low 60s); there were as many controls as people so you hardly saw anyone out in the woods. Through the glasses I saw the eclipse unfold in the early stages but then it got cloudy. I was totally alone in the woods during the eclipse. The birds all the sudden went totally quiet and it was really, really dark. It was creepy cool. The NCO maps and terrain are really nice. It's very remote and there are very few trails at all.

I81 South after the eclipse was a mess, luckily I went north afterwards and drove down to Philly the next day with no issues. The border people at the Thousand Islands crossing said they had a good view. (darn, so close!)

The pictures from the Flying Pig event looked great...glad it worked out for everyone.
Apr 10, 2024 4:36 PM # 
We called an audible based on weather on Sunday to go to Maine instead of Vermont, and also based on traffic (there was traffic on 93 on Sunday, but not 95), cemented when we saw traffic early in the morning at Franconia Notch. 5:00 to Monson from Boston including a couple of pit stops and a poor route choice near the end leading to a 30 minute traffic jam. (Basically, Google was sending a bunch of people down a secondary road which ended in a stop sign in Monson. The cell networks were overwhelmed so it assumed if the were no cars pinging that road, there was no traffic. I'd been planning to take the main road but my dad, navigating by Google, sent me astray. Once in Monson, we decided it was good enough. It was: the eclipse over a frozen lake was stunning as mentioned above, with perfectly clear weather. A blessing in disguise, our original destination in Greenville would have taken an extra hour to get home.)

We spotted the car so we'd be the first out of town, then took a slightly longer route choice (navigating, this time, by DeLorme) to avoid any bottlenecks. I had a route planned around a potential bottleneck but decided not to take it given traffic volume. We hit another 15 minute backup, so a net cost of about 10 minutes, but once clear had free-flow back to 95 and south. Since Maine was less license-plate diverse than Vermont, most Mainers were headed more locally, so it wasn't traffic all funneled onto the same roadways.

Meanwhile, reports from Vermont and New Hampshire were of 10 mph speeds for 50 to 100 miles in places; when I went to bed there was still long traffic queues in Kinsman and Franconia notches (and elsewhere; the plan was always to avoid Franconia, had we gone to the NEK Route 25 back through NH would have been fine). So Maine was an excellent decision, at least from Eastern Mass.

Here is some data from Vermont traffic count stations.
Apr 11, 2024 8:47 PM # 
In Rochester, NY, the weather gods were not kind to us on April 8! It was sunny Saturday and Sunday, and even partly sunny Monday morning (eclipse day). Then it totally clouded over, just about in time for the eclipse. So cloudy it was impossible to even tell where the sun was.

Within hours after the eclipse, the sky cleared up, so we had a nice sunset! And it was perfectly clear on Tuesday. So it was pretty much clear the entire time from Saturday through Tuesday, EXCEPT for about 6 hours of total cloudiness, centered around the eclipse!

The best I could do to capture it was to take a time-lapse series of pictures, of nothing specacular (view from our deck). As least this shows the fairly rapid shift from lightness to darkness and back. Time lapse went from 2:37 to 4:13 pm, one picture per minute. Totality was 3:20-3:24, approximately.
Apr 11, 2024 9:39 PM # 
I didn't make it to the OCIN meet, but I found myself in Dayton, OH. The eclipse there was stunning. A few high cirrus clouds were quite transparent and they were barely noticable at all during the totality.

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