Are you ready for the eclipse?

Everything in the state is going to take a pause today for a very rare event. We have the luck – or the curse, depending on your point of view – to be in the path of the total solar eclipse.

What are you doing today? Are you lucky enough to be in what they’re calling the path of totality, meaning the strip from Jackson to Torrington and about thirty miles north and south of that line, where you’ll get to see a full, 100 percent eclipse of the sun. Outside of that corridor, it’ll be from 90 percent to about a 99 percent of totality, and that’s pretty cool, too. But the reason we have an expected 300,000 extra people in the state right now, with most of those people in Casper, Riverton and Jackson, is because people who have experienced eclipses say 99 percent of totality is only 1 percent of the experience. The experts say you need to see the full eclipse to get the full effect out of it.

So if it’s not too late, you might try to get to a spot where you can see the total eclipse. Just do a Google search for Total Eclipse Path, and you’ll find about a thousand maps that’ll show you where it will be visible. Then get there. You might want to take unpaved county roads to your viewing site, because officials expect all the major roads to be pretty much impassable.

Why go through all that effort, though, when you can see a 99 percent eclipse? The experts say it’s because the sun is so bright, even that 1 percent of the sun that peeks around the moon will ruin the effect. One percent of sunlight is still 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. You won’t get the effect of daytime turning to the dark of night, and you won’t see the sun’s corona. To see that, you have to be in the path of the total eclipse.

If you go, expect delays, expect people doing stupid things like parking in the middle of the road, and just relax. When the time comes, look up, but only through eclipse glasses. Remember, even completely blocked, the sun is still bright enough to burn your retinas.

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