“On August 21, 2017, people across the United States will see the sun disappear behind the moon, turning daylight into twilight, causing the temperature to drop rapidly and revealing massive streamers of light streaking through the sky around the silhouette of the moon. On that day, America will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse.”
I didn’t think I would write about the eclipse coming soon to Central Oregon along with several thousand sightseers from all walks of life. However, there’s no hiding the creativity that local artists have schemed to offer us a remembrance of the first total eclipse on American soil since 1991, the first on the mainland since 1979 and the first to sweep across the entire country since 1918.
And the first major event to put Madras, Oregon in the national news. Why? Madras lies directly within this path and the perfect place for viewing the solar eclipse in its totality. Madras has a 35 percent better chance for clear skies than any other location along the path of totality – from the Oregon Coast to the South Carolina Coast.
A bonus is the prospect of seeing Mt. Jefferson darken as darkness envelops this prominent peak 17 seconds before totality (according to earthsky.org).
In the Encore section of this A&E Vivian Olsen share with us a recently completed painting in anticipation of the upcoming eclipse. It’s a whimsical watercolor of Meerkats that might be watching Mt. Jefferson disappear ever so briefly. Redmond artist Alfred A. Dolezal has created The Cosmic Calculator, see his fascinating explanation on page 31.
There are no limits to the creativity of local artists. Even Mtn. High Coins released two exclusive coins to commemorate the historic event.
In every gallery, boutique and jewelry store in Central Oregon you’ll find earrings, bracelets, necklaces all featuring eclipse images of the moon, sun and earth. Get some now because after the August eclipse, the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be on April 8, 2024 and visible only from Texas to New England.
On Sunday evening before “the morning of totality,” you can escape to the Tower Theatre and enjoy the campy sci-fi thriller Arctic Blast. The story follows the plight of Jack Tate, a brilliant yet trouble physicist, in his attempt to warn the scientific community of an impending disaster as a solar eclipse sets off a colossal surge of super-chilled air towards the earth, triggering a catastrophic chain of events that threaten to engulf the world and start a new Ice Age. Scary?
If you’re so inclined to learn more about the eclipse the Deschutes County Library is taking this month to explore this phenomenon. From the weird history of eclipses to Einstein’s theory of relativity using a solar eclipse. Learn about the cool stuff you’ll see like the diamond ring effect, the corona, crescent-shaped shadows, shadow bands and stars and planets in the sky during the day. Good Stuff.
Oregon State University – Cascades will host two multi-day family events in Central Oregon in August – one in Bend and one in Culver– to celebrate the upcoming solar eclipse and OSU’s Space Grant designation. Cool!
Get up early on the morning of the eclipse and join Sunriver Music Festival and Sunriver Nature Center’s Stellar Solar Seminar. Dr. Harry Hamilton, professor of atmospheric physics, will explain how your day will turn to night for up to two minutes and forty seconds. Then a short walk to a Sunriver meadow to see the solar eclipse. Continue that evening with a “stellar” performance by nationally acclaimed pianist Sean Chen. Stellar.
A partial eclipse is interesting but forgettable while a total eclipse is a memorable, life-changing event which burns itself into memory – and never fades say total eclipse activists. “And so we, who have seen this sight, ask you to join us on this momentous day, and do everything you possibly can to see it with us. But you must remember that “close” is not close enough; in order to see the eclipse in all its glory, you simply must…get thee to the path.”
Or stay home, enjoy the silence and wear your eclipse glasses.