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PHOTO BY KDSHUTTERMAN

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse.

An event like no other: What it is and why it matters to you.

"On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature's most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk."

- NASA

Frequently asked questions

What is “The Path of Totality”?

It is the 168 mile wide path that the moon's shadow traces on Earth during a total solar eclipse.There is a good map to view by visiting NASA’s website.

How long will it last?

The Total Solar Eclipse will take place on the morning of August 21, 2017 beginning at 10:15 a.m. on the Oregon Coast and crossing through Eastern Oregon into Idaho at 10:27 am.

At most, the moon will completely cover the disk of the sun for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. That's about how long totality will last for observers positioned anywhere along the center of the path of totality. As you move toward the edge of the path, the duration of totality will decrease. People standing at the very edge of the path may observe totality for only a few seconds.

What will we see during a total solar eclipse?

During a total solar eclipse, the disk of the moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun, and the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible. The corona is far from an indistinct haze; sky watchers report seeing great jets and ribbons of light, twisting and curling out into the sky.

During totality, the area inside the moon's shadow is cloaked in twilight — a very strange feeling to experience in the middle of the day. Just before and just after totality, observers can see this cloak of darkness moving toward them across the landscape, and then moving away.

These effects are not visible during a partial solar eclipse, so sky watchers are encouraged to see if they are inside the path of totality during the total eclipse.

Can I wear my sunglasses to view the eclipse?

No. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses”, hand-held solar viewers. Proper eye protection is important for the entire viewing process. Do NOT attempt to observe the eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness. Solar eclipse glasses or a solar eclipse viewer are necessary. Regular sunglasses will not work.

* This document does not constitute medical advice.
Readers with questions should contact a qualified eye-care professional.

Why is everyone so concerned?

The State of Oregon is preparing for as many as 1 million travelers visiting Oregon to view the Solar Eclipse. OTEC is preparing for an estimated 30,000 - 50,000 additional visitors into our service territory – with approximately 25,000 – 30,000 sky watchers visiting Baker County alone.

This estimate is based, in part, on Central and Eastern Oregon being identified as the two of the best places to view the Solar Eclipse in the country. NOAA predicts clear skies in our area during this historical event. Be prepared for prolonged travel times and heavy traffic.

Virtually all of the hotel rooms within the path of totality have been booked, some as far out as 3 years, and the demand for lodging/camping options within the path of totality remains incredibly high and has already spilled out into our neighboring communities - all hotel rooms in Burns, Baker City, La Grande and John Day are nearly sold out. Campgrounds, next closest in proximity to the Path of Totality, are also full. We are anticipating this line of demand will continue to work its way across the region.

What do I do if the power goes out?

Please report outages to our OTEC outage number: 1-866-430-4265. They are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

I reported a problem with my service more than 2 hours ago, what is taking so long?

We appreciate your patience. OTEC crews will respond to calls as quickly as possible; however, hospitals, police stations and public service buildings will take priority over an individual residence.  Please also factor in the large amount of traffic and congestion that is expected during this event.

Where can I check on outage status?

Provided that communication channels are not overloaded beyond OTEC's control, our Outage Map ( http://omswebmap.otecc.com/omswebmap/OMSWebMap.htm) displays both individual outages and outage summary information by county.  The map provides users with critical details for outages, including the general location of the outage and approximate number of members affected. 

Helpful tips:

Lightening the load on resources during the event is paramount. Plan ahead by filling up gas tanks, shopping for groceries, filling medical prescriptions, storing water, etc. the week prior to the event.

For members who are living within city limits, try to limit traffic congestion and leave vehicles parked at home. Use bicycles and/or, if available, public transportation (Community Connections).

Charge your cell phones early. Keep in mind that cell phones may not work in remote areas or be reliable. During high usage periods, texting is a recommended option.

How can I help?

For more information on solar eclipse planning and coordination efforts happening around the region and how you can volunteer to get involved, please contact:

Liz Farrar

Eclipse Coordinator, Eastern Oregon Visitors Association
(541) 626-1995
elizabeth.a.farrar@gmail.com

For more information on eclipse preparations, what to expect, scheduled events in the area, activities and volunteer opportunities, please visit:
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