Ezzy's US Eclipse: hitting the road

BBC Sky at Night Magazine news editor Elizabeth Pearson sets out for the trip of a lifetime, on her way to view the 21 August US total solar eclipse.

Published: August 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm
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This map from NASA shows the path of totality the eclipse will take over the US this month. Credit: NASA


Ezzy's US Eclipse: Day 1

On 21 August, the shadow of the Moon will sweep across America as a total eclipse of the Sun passes from coast to coast across the mainland.

Though a partial eclipse will be visible from all 50 states, its expected that millions of visitors from all corners of the country, and world, will descend on the 11 states that will be treated to totality.

I will be one of them.

I have wanted to see a total eclipse since 1999, when an ill-timed trip to Austria meant I couldn't make it down to Cornwall to see the most recent total eclipse to pass over the UK.

While standing on top of an Austrian Alp, I did manage to get a glimpse of partiality through the clouds, but I knew then I wanted to see an eclipse in all its glory.

It's taken almost 20 years, but I'm now finally getting my chance.

Over the next week I will be travelling across Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska, taking in the dark skies and astro-themed attractions the states have to offer before finally setting up in the centre of totality, ready to watch one of nature's greatest spectacles.

As I make my journey, I'll be keeping all of you updated with the trip so make sure to check www.skyatnightmagazine.com regularly for new instalments.

Credit: Elizabeth Pearson / BBC Sky at Night Magazine
Credit: Elizabeth Pearson / BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Already, my trip has hit its first snag.

While packing I made a rather unwelcome discovery: my personal solar telescope won't fit in my carry on!

Like many an astrotourist before me, I've seen too many lost luggages and broken open suitcases to trust my delicate, not to mention expensive, equipment to go in my hold.

Fortunately, I've always been good at Tetris.

After half an hour of packing, unpacking, repacking, shouting at inanimate objects, and then repacking again, I managed to tessellate everything in, though the fit is quite snug.

Phew! Of course, this now means I am inevitably going to get my bag searched at airport security.

Let's just hope I remember how to get it all back in.

Keep up to date with Ezzy's eclipse encounters via her Twitter account and BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Twitter account.


Elizabeth Pearson is travelling with Hertz Roadtrippers.


Ezzy Pearson is the News Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Her first book about the history of robotic planetary landers is out now from The History Press.

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