Dear Crabby, What’s the Best Way to Watch a Solar Eclipse?

Dear Crabby, Have you ever seen a solar eclipse and what is the best way to view one? Will you be traveling to a better viewing area for next month’s total solar eclipse?

Wonderingly, LaceK

Dear LaceK,

It’s been 99 years since the last coast-to-coast total solar eclipse. I wasn’t around yet for that one, but I’ve seen a few eclipses – solar and lunar – right here in Michigan. Now, I understand this one, coming on August 21 at about 1:00 p.m., will be around 80% full coverage in our area. But the sun is so bright, it will be difficult to notice. Warning: You MUST use special sunglasses to watch the solar eclipse. With these glasses, you’ll be able to see the partial coverage of the sun when our moon moved between Earth and the sun. In fact, you can head on over to the Rochester Hills Public Library for a Solar Eclipse Watch Party that day.

Back in 1954, we took a family vacation to the UP to see the total solar eclipse. They had just began construction on the Mackinac Bridge, so we took a car ferry across the water. The eclipse was wonderful – the drive was horrible.

You may recall the partial solar eclipse in 1994 that rolled through southeast Michigan – again, the glasses thing was necessary for safety and to even get a hint it was happening.

For this one, next month, Michiganders will need to drive about 500 miles south to parts of Kentucky or Tennessee to see the real deal – 100% – can you imagine the roads? The drive in 1954 almost killed me then. Now, with so much attention on the thing, you won’t catch me on I-75 that day. However, if you plan ahead, and you don’t mind spending a fortune on a hotel room for a couple of nights, you can beat all the traffic. Could be a fun summer vacation with the kids – just hope the weather is good. The darkness will still happen if you’re in the path, but you won’t get to see the moon move over the sun.

If you miss this one, there will be another total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 in northern Ohio, and that’s just an hour drive. And the next coast-to-coast event will be on August 12, 2045 in mostly the southern states – that will just about the time I retire to Florida – so I’ll catch that for sure if the nursing home rolls me outside that day. If you’re waiting for a total solar eclipse to come to Michigan, don’t worry, we’ll have one in 2099.

If you do travel south for this one next month, I recommend you fuel up often, take water and snacks and maps, and be prepared for major traffic jams. And don’t forget to use EYE PROTECTION!


Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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About Dear Crabby

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  1. Thanks for answering my question! I’m looking forward to the eclipse and enjoyed hearing about your past experiences. The tips are appreciated.

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