Want to see the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21? You should have thought about that years ago!

SolarEclipseColumbiaSC

Photo Credit- Nasa

To be honest, I didn’t begin my planning until about 3 weeks before. It’s crazy… I’ve lived most of my life believing that I had to visit “exotic” places to truly claim that I’ve traveled. While it’s true my family and I are leaving for Southeast Asia soon, I want to make it clear that there is a lot of beauty to be found right here in America. Most times we take our home for granted, and never get a chance to appreciate what we have in our very own backyard. For example, I was born and raised around Chicago, but it took moving out of the state to finally come back and enjoy the “tourist” attractions.

Thankfully, I don’t have to travel very far to enjoy the Solar Eclipse in Columbia, SC.

Where can I view the eclipse?

The Great American  Solar Eclipse of 2017 is mainly happening in (you guessed it!) … the United States. More specifically, in a direct path from Oregon to South Carolina.

Many hotels within the cities and towns with a perfect view of the once-in-a-generation celestial event are at or very near capacity.

Those that remain are double and triple the price of a normal stay.

Take for example, Columbia SC. It is being billed as the go-to place on the eastern side of the US to view the phenom. Why? Well, each city will experience the total eclipse for a certain length of time. Columbia, SC has the longest total solar eclipse coming in at 2 minutes and 36 seconds. The total eclipse (black out) will last start at 2:41:51 p.m. and end at 2:44:21 p.m. The entire event will begin at 1:13pm and end at 4:06 pm est.

While a stay at the downtown Hilton may normally run you $126/night. As of 8/5/2017 visiting during the eclipse is currently priced at $236/night. ‘Gone head Columbia and get your tourism bucks!

Small towns and cities along the path of totality are certainly enjoying their moment in the sun. —see what I did there?—  And have a full calendar of events and things to do. Click here to view a list of events happening to celebrate the solar eclipse in Columbia, South Carolina.

You can use this interactive eclipse map to find out exactly where totality will be visible, as well as when totality will occur at different locations inside the path. Totality will last for less than 3 minutes depending on where you are located to the center line, so make sure you are looking skyward at the right time!

Can I look directly at the sun during the eclipse?

No. Having protective eye wear is an ABSOLUTE MUST! Staring directly at the sun can cause severe damage to your retina. In addition to being safe, the only way to see the partial eclipse as it happens is with the protective eye wear. If you’re lucky, you may get a free pair from the event you’re attending. However they are limited in supply and will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. As much as I love free, it is not worth planning a full trip around the eclipse and then missing out because I didn’t plan properly for glasses.

Not all eclipse glasses are created equal. You’ll need ISO approved glasses.  Click here to purchase adult sized eclipse glasses from Amazon. Click here for the child sized option. Be sure to order in advance, as a lot of manufactures have been selling out, and the time is fast approaching.

What is an eclipse and why is everyone losing their mind?!

A solar eclipse is when the moon gets between the Earth and the sun, completely blocks out the rays and causes a blackout effect. During a total solar eclipse, strange phenomena occur:

  • Sudden “twilight” darkness in the middle of the day
  • A corona of light circles the sun – this is never visible except during 100% totality
  • Temperature drops 5-15 degrees
  • “Diamond ring” and other light effects appear around the sun
  • 360-degree sunset around the entire horizon; this deepens before darkness
  • Nocturnal animals emerge and begin “nighttime” routines
  • Stars and bright planets such as Mars, Venus, Mercury & Jupiter become visible
  • After eclipse, as light breaks, birds chirp as if it is daybreak
  • Note: during a partial eclipse, the sky does not darken like it does during 100% totality.

The last trans-continental eclipse happened in 1918. The next really good one isn’t set to occur until the year 2045! – Shit by that time I’ll be nearing 60, and life isn’t guaranteed.

The burning question. “If I live outside the path of totality, will I still be able to view the eclipse?”

Yes, and no. You will receive an eye full (provided you wear your protective glasses), but you won’t be able to see the jaw dropping, awe-inspiring, total eclipse.

No wonder NASA has dubbed this “the Great American Eclipse” and scientists say it is the “biggest and best in American history.”

Is there still lodging available?

It’s not too late and there are hotels and homes still available. If you don’t mind staying somewhere that hasn’t been updated since 1972, I found a few options on Airbnb. If you’re on a budget and want a more modern home, consider splitting the cost of a higher end home.

In addition, there are campgrounds a plenty, and will ease the financial burden of securing lodging. Start with the following websites to search for lodging.

TripAdvisor

Woodsmoke Family Campground

Airbnb 

{ BONUS TIP: If you are interested in camping, but the grounds are full. Try reaching out to an airbnb host about camping in their backyard. Some folks are only charging $15/night}

To be honest, I didn’t know how crazy people were going for this celestial event until recently. As luck would have it, I already had plans to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s anniversary in Columbia, SC. During our original search for an Airbnb I came across rentals that were $500 + a night… In COLUMBIA, SC!! I was shocked to say the least. I simply couldn’t understand why the prices were so high.

It was day’s later before I was able to put two and two together. 

Thankfully, one of the four friends my husband and I have between us, was willing to share his hotel points. If you have hotel points, definitely use them. If you don’t, look around for someone that does! 🙂

 

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