At Organic Earthly Delights, we are counting down the days until we and millions of others within the path of totality, get to experience the Great American Eclipse. But as we prepare to host throngs of people here on our little town of Madras, and on our farm for the August 21st event, we still have one question about eclipses, and that is how the heck do scientists predict the path of an eclipse?

To see the upcoming eclipse, one will need to be positioned within what is called the Path of Totality. The Path of Totality is unique in nature in that if you plan to see two total eclipses from the same place on Planet Earth, you’ll have to wait on average of 375 years and be positioned within a 70-100 mile in width ribbon that stretches upwards of 10,000 miles in length. The Path of Totally, which covers less than 1% of Planet Earth, can cross any part of Earth. But, unless you are within the path, all you will see is a partial eclipse.

It is something to behold that we live in a day and age that science can predict such an incredible “out of this world” total eclipse event, right down to the city block. Quite frankly, it’s mind-blowing.

How Do We Know Where The Path Of Totality Will Be?

With one total eclipse appearing every 2-3 years and can only be seen in totality on less than 1% of the planet’s surface, how do we know where the path of totality will be?

Over the course of the last 10 years, there has been tremendous advancements for being able to predict the path of eclipses. These advancements were the result of a lot of work as well as some various NASA missions coupled with Japan’s Kayuga Probe.

Here is a brief overview of these various missions:

  1. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – This mission launched in June of 2009 along with the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. It was the on the cutting edge for NASA’s Lunar Precursor Robotic Program. The LRO and LCROSS was launched as part of the Space Exploration program, a vision of the United States. The probe made a 3D map of the moon’s surface at 100-meter resolution.
  2. Japan’s Kayuga Probe – This mission launched in September of 2007. One of the main objectives for the probe was to obtain information about the lunar surface environment. This greatly improved lunar topography maps.
  3. NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission is an international research effort that has worked to obtain near-global scale digital elevation models. This mission has generated the most complete high-resolution digital topographic database of Earth.

Up until the point of some of these recent advancements, which gave us a more accurate mapping of the moon’s surface, scientists have used a coordinate system which is aligned with the shadow of the moon on the Earth. This 19th century technique used for predicting eclipses, made it easier to forecast whether an observer on the ground would be inside or outside the shadow’s circle.

However, it was only accurate, depending on location, of a few miles. This coordinate system also carried with it a couple large assumptions:

  1. All observers on Planet Earth were at sea-level
  2. The moon was flat surfaced.

Of course, we know this not to be true. Well, at least the “all observers” at sea-level assumption. But thanks to some critical missions that have been launched since 2007 as well as the advancements in computing power, scientists can now predict the path of totality down to the city block.

The Moon Isn’t Flat

This has come with some pretty incredible elevation maps for Earth and the moon. This is of absolute importance in that elevations of the moon affect the moon’s limb. The moon’s limb is the actual edge of its disc as we see it here from Earth.

What we now see in the moon is that it has an irregular surface which can lead to the smallest of changes in profile. The moon isn’t flat. These irregularities of the moon’s limb are what is known as Baily’s Beads. These are beads of sunlight that shine through on some places, while in other places, they do not, during a solar eclipse.

Creating Visualizations Of An Eclipse That Has Yet To Occur

With these significant advancements in surface mapping, NASA has been producing several visualizations of the upcoming lunar event. All of which being realistic in nature, it’s almost as if they are an exact replica of something, that has yet to occur.

With such visualizations and now the ability to pinpoint down to the city block or country mile for where the path of totality can be seen, the only question now is where on Earth will you view the upcoming eclipse?

View The Eclipse From Within The Path Of Totality

Do you plan on viewing the solar eclipse on August 21st? If you plan to, yet haven’t booked your accommodations, you better act fast. Space is filling up everywhere.

Fortunately, we here at Organic Earthly Delights, located at Cottonwood Corners in Madras, Oregon have space available. Located within the Path of Totality in what many experts are saying is the best place to view the eclipse on planet earth, we invite you to join us for a memory that will last a lifetime. Book your unique glamping experience with us today.

View Eclipse With Astronomers From Within The Path Of Totality

Do you plan on viewing the solar eclipse on August 21st? If you plan to, yet haven’t booked your accommodations, you better act fast. Space is filling up everywhere.

Fortunately, we here at Organic Earthly Delights, located at Cottonwood Corners in Madras, Oregon have space available. Located within the Path of Totality in what many experts are saying is the best place to view the eclipse on planet earth, we invite you to join us for a memory that will last a lifetime.

And to further enhance our all-inclusive solar eclipse experience, we are excited to announce that we will also have two well-sought after and experienced astronomers, Rebecca Sydney and Mike Herbert on location. Both astronomers will arrive on-site on Friday August 18th and will lead us on several stargazing sessions and be available for questions and answers.

We are looking forward to having them join us and to be hosting you for this unique “once in a lifetime” event. Book your space today. Together, let’s make history.

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