Six-Month Countdown Begins For Rare Total Solar Eclipse Crossing Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore.—Feb. 21, 2017—The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, in partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), is helping residents and visitors prepare for this summer’s total solar eclipse – the first in the continental U.S. since 1979 – which will make its way across Oregon on Aug. 21, 2017.
During a total solar eclipse (aka totality), the sun, the moon and the Earth align in such a way that the moon completely blocks out the sun, briefly turning daytime into twilight for nearly two minutes. This eclipse will cross the entire length of the country on a 90-mile-wide path, known as the “Path of Totality”, beginning on the Oregon Coast, and ending on the East Coast near Charleston, South Carolina.
Touching down just north of Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast at 10:15 a.m., the moon’s shadow will race east passing through cities in the Willamette Valley (Salem, Corvallis, Albany), Central Oregon (Madras, Prineville, Redmond), and ending its path in Eastern Oregon (John Day, Baker City, Ontario). Due to the rapid movement of the moon around the Earth, the eclipse will traverse the entire state in just nine minutes.
“The entire state of Oregon is fortunate to have such a rare opportunity to watch the total solar eclipse,” said Jim Todd, OMSI Director of Space Science Education. “Oregon will be the first U.S. state to view the totality of the Great American Eclipse. Cities closest to the center of the Path of Totality will have the best viewing opportunities, particularly those east of the Cascade Range, where clear skies are most likely.”
Travel Oregon and OMSI are working with other state agencies to inform visitors and prepare communities and businesses across the state for the thousands of visitors anticipated to participate. Travel Oregon is producing an eclipse guide book with helpful tips and resources which will also include a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. The guide is set to release in early April and will be available at Oregon Visitor Centers, State Welcome Centers and online at TravelOregon.com/Getting-Around/Online-Guides/.
“This is such an extraordinary event that people will travel the world to see it. We’re thrilled that Oregonians and our visitors will have the opportunity for a front row seat,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “With the eclipse taking place on a Monday, we’re encouraging visitors to make a trip out of it and come a few days early or stay a few days late. We want everyone to enjoy this amazing celestial occurrence while also ensuring they take time to prepare and stay safe.”
Many hotels and campsites along the path of totality are already booked on the dates surrounding August 21, 2017. Several first-come, first-served campgrounds are set to be temporarily converted to reservation-only for the eclipse, so additional campsites will be made available in the coming months. Regional tourism agencies are encouraging visitors to look for hotels in larger metro areas just outside the path of totality like Portland, Eugene and Bend.
In addition to the OMSI Solar Eclipse Viewing Party in Salem, other communities are also planning events to celebrate the eclipse, including the Oregon Solarfest in Madras, the Oregon Star Party in the Ochoco National Forest and Oregon Eclipse Festival near Mitchell, Oregon. Visitors and residents can find out more at TravelOregon.com/Eclipse and GreatAmericanEclipse.com/oregon.
About Travel Oregon
The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors’ experiences by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians’ quality of life by strengthening the economic impacts of the state’s $10.8 billion tourism industry that employs more than 105,000 Oregonians. Visit TravelOregon.com to learn more.
About OMSI Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI operates the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country and provides traveling and community outreach programs that bring science learning opportunities to schools and community organizations in nearly every county in Oregon. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call (503) 797-4000 or visit omsi.edu.