Bryan Brewer first published his book about solar eclipses 38 years ago to coincide with the last eclipse viewable in the Northwest. His No. 1 tip for those eager to see the Aug. 21 eclipse: Don’t settle for less than totality.
Got questions about the solar eclipse happening Aug. 21? Five seconds on Google will get you more than 10 million results — including interactive maps that zoom in on the zone of totality from coast to coast.
But the last time the Pacific Northwest experienced a total solar eclipse, information wasn’t as easy to come by.
“You went to the library,” recalled Bryan Brewer. “And you did a lot of things by phone and mail.” Among them: dialing up the U.S. Naval Observatory to request pamphlets showing the eclipse path.
Eclipse preparation and viewing advice
• Don’t settle for less than 100 percent. Get yourself into the zone of totality, preferably near the centerline, where duration is longest.
• Expect traffic jams. Up to 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the eclipse path — and Oregon expects 1 million people to converge there.
• Watch the weather forecast. If clouds threaten, be ready to drive to a clearer area.
• Don’t despair if you can’t avoid clouds. They sometimes clear as the eclipse unfolds.
• Don’t photograph the eclipse. Unless you’re an expert, the results won’t be great and fussing with equipment will detract from your enjoyment.
• During totality, it’s safe to look directly at the sun. You can also use binoculars — but only during totality. At all other times, use eclipse glasses or a pinhole projector.
• Take your eyes off the sky for at least a few seconds to scan the horizon for a 360-degree sunset.
• If you’re on a hill, you may be able to spot the moon’s shadow sweeping toward you at more than 1,500 mph. (In Western Oregon, the shadow will move at more than 2,000 mph.)