For the first time in 38 years, an eclipse is going to hit the lower 48 states. People. Are. Getting. Hyped.
The eclipse will occur on Monday, Aug. 21, and pass over 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina.
Though there’s a solar eclipse every 18 months, a total solar eclipse crossing the continental United States in such a perfect line is rare — in fact, it hasn’t happened since 1918, though we’ll get another chance in 2024. The Atlantic has even pegged this as the greatest human migration to see a natural event in U.S. history.
It makes sense that people are making hay while the sun shines — or doesn’t shine, as it were. Such a momentous, gigantic, joyous, literally astronomical event is expected to draw out millions of science-loving humans.
Check out a few of the most delightful, surprising, creative, and flat-out fun ways people are preparing to celebrate the occasion.
Some are throwing parties. Huge parties. We’re talking religious-festival-with-15,000-people-sized parties.
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, will have one of the best views of the eclipse in the nation — so it’s throwing a three-day festival called Solquest. Dedicated to witnessing “God’s glory and his majesty,” organizers are planning for live music, speakers, and prayer.
Meanwhile, Hopkinsville local Griffin Moore is stocking up her studio with plenty of solar-themed merch.
Her shop is one of many in town getting ready to capitalize on a giant influx of tourists.
Of course, no eclipse shindig would be complete without some custom, solar-themed hooch.
Married duo A.J. Casey Jones and Peg Hays have cooked up some Total Eclipse Moonshine in commemoration of the event. They forecast that 3,500 people will show up at their business, the Casey Jones Distillery.
Meanwhile, the local Singing Fork Baptist Church got some cheeky advertising ideas out of the event.
And eclipse glasses are suddenly the must-have fashion accessory of the season.
NASA’s just as keen on watching the eclipse as everyone else, though their equipment’s a bit more … sophisticated.
The legendary aeronautics agency will use jets to chase the eclipse, stretching the two-and-a-half-minute event into a lengthy seven minutes. Their cameras will record images of the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere.
Over in Montana, they’ll be celebrating by releasing giant bacteria-laden balloons into the atmosphere.
Astrologers, meanwhile, say the eclipse could foretell big things for President Trump, although they were light on specifics.
Zookeepers in Omaha are going to find out whether their giraffes know more about eclipses than they do.
From bees to chickens, animals sometimes act a little wacky when the sky goes dark. During past eclipses, people have reported that birds stopped singing. Elephants headed for their sleeping areas. Chimpanzees stared confusedly at the sky.
So zoos and aquariums in the path of totality, including the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, will be keeping an eye on their animals.
And in the West, Oregon’s already experiencing some ridiculous traffic jams.
People aren’t just traveling by car either. 63-year-old Gary Parkerson of Louisiana is planning to bike all the way up to Nashville in order to get the very best views.
And plenty of people are taking their solar viewing party to the great outdoors. Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is predicting their busiest day ever.
The eclipse will cross over 21 different national parks. They’re all sure to be packed.
All over the United States, scientists and the faithful, zookeepers and wild beasts, hooch-makers and police officers are coming together for a once-in-a-lifetime (OK, maybe twice-in-a-lifetime) historic event.
Listen, it’s been a hard week. Hard year, really. But this is going to be really special and it’s cool to see people getting hyped up. So get hyped up too. This is going to be awesome.
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