When you go by yourself or in a group, it’s always important to be prepared. With an eclipse scheduled for this year, it’s great to get a head start on your eclipse viewing bag. Today, we list some of things that will come in handy when you go out to catch at one of our best astronomic events.
When someone says, “solar safety,” this is what I think of. So should you. And here’s something to note: If your bottle of sunscreen is more than two years old, replace it. That’s the standard shelf life for this product. If you see someone who has forgotten sunscreen, please be a peach and share. You also might want to bring an umbrella for some welcome shade.
Just because the sun shall seemingly be dim, that doesn’t mean that its rays still aren’t doing their job. This can mean sunburn for you if you’re not careful.
August 21 will be warm everywhere in the United States and hot in many places. Even large events may run out of this vital fluid. Don’t leave home without it. If you’re driving, bring at least a case of bottled water with you. For just a couple of bucks, you’ll be guaranteed not to dehydrate.
This is a great way to get close-up views of the corona during the total phase of the eclipse. And during the half-hour or so prior to totality, you can scan the sky away from the Sun to try to locate Venus (and Jupiter from locations east of Idaho).
4.) An Eclipse Guide
While you’re waiting for the day or the actual event itself, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a reference on what to expect. This way you can enjoy an enriched viewing experience. You’ll have a better idea on what to expect and you can identify the different stages of the eclipse.
5.) Food or snacks
Certainly this isn’t as critical as water; I mean, you’re not going to starve. You probably will get hungry waiting for the eclipse to start, however. Don’t assume your location will have food. We expect millions of people to flock to events along the center line. It’s quite possible that even well-stocked stores and supply stands will sell out even before you arrive. Consider having some healthy snacks or pre-made sandwiches. Such items can help you avoid fast food and give you options in more culinary-challenged communities.
Also, making or bringing your own snacks will certainly help your wallet. If there are going to be concessionaires in the area, it’s not a wild stretch of the imagination that their prices will be pretty steep. Supply and demand will always give them that excuse.
Be sure you have any prescriptions you need to take with you. And some pain medication also is a good idea. Sometimes too much Sun gives certain people headaches, and too much standing for older folks can be painful.
Bring at least one chair (fold-up varieties pack best) for each person in your party. Even if you attend an organized event, don’t assume anyone will provide seats. Do assume that if there are seats, they will already have been taken. You’re not going to want to stand for (a minimum of) three hours, and if you’re like me, you don’t do well lying on the ground. The best chairs you can bring let you sit upright or recline. Actually, if I weren’t hosting an event, I’d bring the nice air mattress we keep for those occasions when several guests visit.
8.) Cash on hand
It’s usually best to bring cash. Most vendors at eclipse events may not take credit or debit cards, and, even for those who do, with the huge numbers of people in transit, paying with cash may save you some serious time.
9.) Insect Repellent
This is a must since you’re viewing the eclipse outdoors.