Only one in 10,000 people will witness a total solar eclipse in their lifetimes. On Aug. 21, you could be a celestial statistic: Idaho has a front-row seat to this amazing heavenly wonder. If you haven’t already started planning your viewing party, it’s time to get moving! State officials expect 20,000 to 30,000 people will jam every town in the path of the eclipse (hotel bookings are already through the roof).
Here’s what you need to before Aug. 21:
Plan to stay a while. Tourism officials are expecting a crush of traffic on Aug. 21 as day trippers try to get to their viewing sites on time. Your best bet for a stress-free eclipse day: Stay overnight at your destination on Aug. 20.
Choose your location carefully … The path of totality cuts from east to west through Idaho, from Weiser to Victor. In Southern Idaho, you’ll be able to see the eclipse from Arco, Butte City, Moore, Mackay, and Atomic City. The far northeastern section of Craters of the Moon National Monument also is within the eclipse’s path. People in the path of the eclipse can plan on one to two minutes of solid eclipse viewing.
… And have a back-up. Idaho is a fantastic place to watch the eclipse because it rains so infrequently in August and there isn’t much pollution in towns and cities along the path of totality. Idaho skies are likely to be clear, though we may experience smoke from forest fires. Plan ahead for a back-up location just in case the weather takes a turn.
Be on time. The eclipse will last only a precious few minutes. It’s expected to appear in western Idaho at 11:25 a.m. and escape into Wyoming at 11:36 a.m. You’ll want to be ready when it happens, so leave plenty of time to get to your chosen location.
Bring your glasses. Sure, the sun may be blocked during the eclipse, but you’ll still be looking directly at a powerful fireball in the sky. Protect your eyes with special glasses (available online).
Book a tour. Don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to find a viewing location yourself? Southern Idaho Tourism is offering the Southern Idaho Eclipse Adventure, a guided tour of the eclipse, for $85.00. Southern Idaho Tourism has been working with the Faulkner Planetarium in Twin Falls to find the perfect viewing location (and back-up viewing location). You’ll be guided by an astronomer from the planetarium and receive transportation to and from the viewing area, a catered lunch, and special protective eye glasses. You can read more and sign up here.