20 Tips for Viewing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

Don't miss the chance of a lifetime to see a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017! Here are some tips to help make sure you make the most of this amazing experience.
20 Tips for viewing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse - this is a once in a lifetime, amazing experience you'll want to experience. Plan a family vacation around it this summer!


On August 21, 2017 we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse.  A Solar eclipse happens yearly, however this year the “Path of Totality” travels straight through the United States, allowing excellent viewing in 12 different states!  In the last 40 years, there have only been 2 total eclipses in the United States.


If you have never witnessed an eclipse before, make sure that you are prepared as there are safety tips that you must follow and honestly, you want to be comfortable when you witness this once in a lifetime experience.


Here are 20 Tips for viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse:


  1. NEVER EVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITH THE NAKED EYE OR WITH OPTICAL DEVICES (telescope, binoculars, etc.)
  2. Take the day off of work.  August 21st falls on a Monday, and as it is a once in a lifetime experience, take the day off of work now while you still have plenty of time.  You don’t want to miss it.
  3. Make it a long weekend.  Since you have already taken the day off, why not make the occasion a long weekend?
  4. Plan your viewing location. If you are near the Path of Totality, be sure and figure out exactly where you plan to view the eclipse from.  Chances are, the areas are going to be very, very crowded so plan early to get your spot.
  5. Grab a spot without trees or buildings that will block your view.
  6. Bring chairs.  You have claimed your spot.  Chances are you will be there for a couple of hours.  Make sure you are comfortable.
  7. Don’t forget the sunscreen.  The eclipse is happening in mid-August.  You are going to be outside in the heat watching the sun.  Don’t forget your sun protection.
  8. Invite friends and family.  This event should be shared with others!
  9. Be flexible.  Most hotels and motels along the path of totality have been booked out for a year or more, if you are planning to travel to see it, be sure that you are willing to step outside of the box as far as your lodging is concerned.  I know lots of cities are offering up parks and other unique camping arrangements.
  10. Keep track of the weather.  Be sure to keep track of the weather in the days ahead of the eclipse.  You want to be where there will be clear skies so be willing to move your viewing location last minute if need be.
  11. Note the time.  In each place along the Path of Totality, the eclipse will be happening at a different time.  Make sure you know exactly when the eclipse will be happening in your area.
  12. Know the risks.  We already mentioned this in #1, but it is important.  Did your parents ever tell you to not look directly into the Sun?  It’s for good reason.  Serious eye damage can occur by staring directly at the sun.  
  13. Buy your solar eclipse glasses.  In order to safely view the eclipse, you need to wear eclipse glasses.  Buy them well in advance.  There will be thousands upon thousands of people witnessing this event, beat the rush and order your glasses now.
  14. Pull the kids out of school.  If your kids have school, pull them out and make viewing the eclipse a family event.  I will reiterate that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  They likely won’t watch it from school.  
  15. Forget the camera.  It is highly unlikely that you are going to get good pictures anyway, so why not just sit back and enjoy the moment?
  16. Prepare for crowds.  Thousands of people from all over the world are expected to be throughout the Path of Totality.  If you are in the path, be prepared to deal with those crowds.
  17. Take your bathroom breaks beforehand.  This tip is especially for parents. If you have little ones, make sure the bathroom trips are done before totality time.
  18. Plan to stay put.  If you live in the area, don’t plan on going anywhere during that time because of the crowds.  Plan all of your errands in advance.
  19. Take a look around.  For mere seconds during totality, peel your eyes away and look around.  Seeing sunset colors all around you is a feeling that you will likely never have again.
  20. Focus.  Depending on your location, totality will be a grand total of 2-3 minutes.  During this time, your entire focus should be on the sun.  Put your phone down, don’t pay attention to anything else, but this once in a lifetime opportunity.


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Beth Gorden
Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.