Oregon has long been predicted to be a scene of major eclipse traffic jams, and even by Sunday, that was proving to be true: The Oregon National Guard was called in to Madras, a small agricultural city in the sunny part of the state, east of the Cascades.
Traffic was at a standstill for hours Sunday afternoon, gridlocked as well more than 100,000 people flocked to this small, pleasant town of 7,000.
Madras, pronounced like glad or sad — not like the plaid fabric or the megalopolis in India — sits on the centerline of the eclipse's path of totality.
Eclipses pose a bit of a dilemma for sky watchers. Aside from the few minutes of totality, when the moon completely covers the sun, you can’t actually look at the sun directly without hurting your eyes.
Dr. Christopher Quinn, president of the American Optometric Assn., explained that your eyes don’t just absorb the light of the sun. Instead, they concentrate it — focusing it on the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye known as the retina.
The cells of the retina are not designed to handle the light intensity that comes from staring directly at the sun.
It’s not just humans who will be affected by the Great American Eclipse today — expect animals to act strangely too.
Anecdotal evidence and a few scientific studies suggest that as the moon moves briefly between the sun and the Earth, causing a deep twilight to fall across the land, large swaths of the animal kingdom will alter their behavior.
Eclipse chasers say they have seen songbirds go quiet, large farm animals lie down, crickets start to chirp and chickens begin to roost.
Although the moon will push in front of the sun and darken the skies on Monday, California’s solar-heavy electricity grid isn’t expected to run short on energy to power homes, businesses and industry.
The manager of the state’s electricity grid, the California Independent System Operator, said it’s prepared for the widely anticipated solar eclipse that begins about 9 a.m.
The moon will block the sun for 2 minutes and 40 seconds about an hour after the eclipse begins. California is too far south for total blockage of the sun, but eclipse viewers in the state will see the moon cover about 50% to about 90% depending on where they are.
Most weekdays, a steady stream of cars and pickups winds down U.S. Route 441 through this tiny mountain town.
Locals stop to stock up on bread and eggs at the Piggly Wiggly. Tourists browse a string of antique stores. Nearly everyone pulls over at the Osage Farm stand to pick up ripe peaches, silver queen corn and heirloom tomatoes.
The total solar eclipse will span the country from coast to coast for the first time since 1918. Millions of people are expected to don eclipse glasses and watch as the moon appears to blot out the sun.
People naturally want to commemorate this historic event. If you're planning to photograph the eclipse, here are some tips and guidelines from the experts.
Americans in the continental U.S. will experience at least a partial solar eclipse, or penumbra, when the edges of the moon’s shadow fall across Earth. The sun will still be bright, but the moon will eat a chunk out of it.
On Monday morning, Los Angeles will see the moon begin to edge into the disk of sun.
“At about 9:05 a.m. there will be the first little sort of a bite — a tiny little nibble — taken out of the top of the sun,” said E.C. Krupp, the director of Griffith Observatory, who has seen 14 total solar eclipses (before today).