Skip to Content
Watch BCTV Now
/ Articles / Opinion /

Total solar eclipse hoopla leaves me in the dark

Aug 01, 2017 • by Mike Zielinski, Host of The Mike Zielinski Show
Mike Zielinski

A total solar eclipse will slice a path across much of the United States on August 21.

That’s no big deal to me.

The total solar eclipse in my universe will be eclipsed by my wife’s birthday on August 21.

There are so many candles on her birthday cake that our house will be more illuminated than Clark Griswold’s house at Christmas. Of course, my lovely wife hardly looks her age and she will gleefully tell you that I’m older than her. My last birthday cake set off the fire alarm in our house.

This solar eclipse will be visible in some form or fashion across most of the U.S. and will be quite the celestial experience for anyone without a life within the 70-mile-wide strip of totality across the country — assuming the skies are relatively clear.

I personally would be more impressed if Mel Brooks’ Planet Spaceball flashed with ludicrous speed across my backyard sky.

For those of you who flunked astronomy or simply have never seen stars in your eyes, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, obscuring part or all of the star from the planet. 

During a partial eclipse, the sun basically looks like a bite has been taken out of it, much like yours truly biting into a cinnamon raisin bagel lathered in cream cheese.

During a total eclipse, the moon passes fully in front the of the sun and the star is fully obscured, much like Sean Spicer sitting next to Ryan Gosling when the maestro cues up a ladies’ choice dance.

NASA estimates that people have been documenting eclipses for at least 5,000 years. How those people have lived this long totally baffles doctors, scientists and insurance actuaries.

While the path of totality is pretty narrow for the August 21 eclipse, you can still catch a partial phase from anywhere in North America and parts of Africa, Europe, and South America.

The path of totality for the August 21 eclipse begins, for some inexplicable reason, in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, of all places. From there, the deep shadow of the moon will pass over parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina before ending at 4:09 p.m. ET, according to NASA. 

For once, Berks County won’t be left totally in the dark.

If you want to experience a full 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality, the longest time in the U.S., then head to near Carbondale, Illinois.

As you can imagine, hotels rooms there are totally booked and going for Super Bowl prices. And the total solar eclipse won’t even have Beyonce in the halftime show. 

Granted, you always can stay indoors and simply catch the solar eclipse live online.

Which might be a better option if you value your vision.

You need eclipse glasses during the partial phases of the eclipse to prevent your retinas from becoming burnt toast.

At the moment of totality, you can look directly at the sun without any protective eyewear.

Of course, the moment of totality in most locations lasts for a mere minute or two.

Which is exponentially shorter in duration than all the foreplay building up to this climatic event.

We need your support!

Your contribution makes community media possible.

A donation of any size to your nonprofit media organization supports the future of media access in our community - the things you love, and the places you know, by the people you care about.

Watch BCTV Live