Five Facts You Should Know About the August 21 Eclipse

Total solar eclipse with clouds
Photo by Ig0rZh/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

With the August 21 solar eclipse on the horizon for the first time in 38 years (and the first total solar eclipse in 99), nature startup Hipcamp has put together a list of five facts for travelers to geek out with in honor of this historic event:

1. “The sun will put a ring on it”

In the last few seconds before the eclipse, as the sunlight streaming through the moon’s valleys will create a bright flash of light on the side of the moon creating the “diamond ring effect.”

2. “Corona isn’t just a drink”

The glowing light halo around the dark solar eclipse is called the “corona,” described by NASA as “the sun’s tenuous atmosphere.”

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3. “The seven-year itch is real”

Simply meaning that this eclipse does not come around every so often. The last eclipse on the west coast occurred 38 years ago, and the next one after August 21’s will appear on April 8, 2024, carving a path from Maine to Texas. This year’s eclipse will run from South Carolina to Oregon.

4. “Our planets go the distance”

Currently, the earth, moon and sun are “perfect” distances from each other, meaning that eclipse viewers can see the corona during this eclipse. Millions of years ago, however, Hipcamp says it was blocked. Millions of years in the future, total eclipses will no longer be possible because the moon will appear smaller than the sun. 

5. "'Greece' is the word”

The earliest predicted solar eclipse passed through ancient Greece in 585 BC, known as the Eclipse of Thales, named after the philosopher Thales of Miletus who is said to have accurately predicted the phenomenon. Seen as an omen by the Greeks, it caused a long-standing battle – formally known as Battle of the Eclipse or Battle of Halys – between the Medes and the Lydians to finally end as day suddenly turned to night. 

Hipcamp creates new campsites by unlocking access to private lands such as nature preserves, farms and ranches. Seeing as lodging and camping have been booked up for months at high rates, the startup has been partnering with landowners to create new campsites in the eclipse path, they said in a written release. Last month, they said, over 1,300 new campsites popped up on Hipcamp in Oregon last month. Some of the campgrounds to stay through Hipcamp are Teal Creek Camp in Oregon, Wolf Mountain Historic Cabin in North Carolina, Big Oak Treehouse in Missouri, Jenny Lake Campground in Wyoming, The Woods at Sole Farm in Georgia, among many others. 

States that will be in the eclipse’s path of totality are Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming. 

The eclipse will begin at 9:06 a.m. in Madras, Oregon and at 1:13 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina. Hipcamp recommends purchasing official eclipse glasses, which cost less than a dollar when bought in bulk, or telescope funnels, as regular sunglasses do not provide enough protection for viewing the eclipse. 

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