Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) Paperback – 8 Jun 2016
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"Michael Bakich's new book, Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, is all about being fully prepared, whether you're a dedicated eclipse chaser or a first-timer. ... Your guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse is an inspiring practical handbook to this month's exciting event, and much of the advice will be valid for the repeat performance in 2024. Astronomy is looking up. Enjoy the eclipse." (Simon Mitton, Physics Today, Vol. 59 (8), August, 2017)"Bakich, a senior editor of Astronomy magazine, describes the underlying science, as well as the cultural aspects of eclipses. He provides guidelines for safe observing, choosing equipment ... and ideas for activities beyond just enjoying the aesthetic experience. ... High quality paper and copious illustrations and photographs greatly enhance this guide, as do the appendixes and index. ... Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers." (M.-K. Hemenway, Choice, Vol. 54 (5), January, 2017)
From the Back Cover
In this book Astronomy Magazine editor Michael Bakich presents all the information you'll need to be ready for the total solar eclipse that will cross the United States on August 21, 2017. In this one resource you'll find out where the eclipse will occur, how to observe it safely, what you'll experience during the eclipse, the best equipment to choose, how to photograph the event, detailed weather forecasts for locations where the Moon's shadow will fall, and much more.
Written in easy-to-understand language (and with a glossary for those few terms you may not be familiar with), this is the must-have reference for this unique occurrence. It's not a stretch to say that this eclipse will prove to be the most viewed sky event in history. That's why even now, more than a year before the eclipse, astronomy clubs, government agencies, cities -- even whole states -- are preparing for the unprecedented onslaught of visitors whose only desire is to experience darkness at midday. Bakich informs observers what anyone will need to observe, enjoy, and understand this event.
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Although the traveling is simplified for many of us, the planning is not. Many folks often choose to go on an organized eclipse tour, as there are lots of things that go into planning a successful eclipse trip. Something as simple as picking a viewing location requires determining the central line of the eclipse, then taking historical weather conditions and length of totality into account. Those not in tours may choose the most publicized option. This time, I suspect many will head to Giant City State Park in Illinois. This huge park sits in the middle of the longest part of totality, is fairly easy to get to and should accomidate a ton of people. However, I, like Mr Bakich, suspect it will be jam packed shoulder to shoulder. While this might be the most publicized site for eclipse viewing, it’s far from the only. The book points out that you will get nearly the full 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality anywhere along a 255 mile path that he’s gone to the trouble of figuring out for you.
In fact, that’s a great summary for the book. Michael Bakich has done the hard work any eclipse viewer needs to do to optimize their chances of success. In a light and easy to read style his nearly 400 page tome covers a massive number of topics. Among these he discusses the path of the upcoming eclipse and how to observe it safely, cues you into what to look for during the eclipse (both astronomically and terrestrially) as well as provides instructions on how to pick the right gear. Given that this eclipse will be one of the most watched celestial events in decades, I particularly like that he devotes an entire section to how NOT to view it. He points out the dangers of viewing the sun improperly and exposes many modern myths about what some may consider safe solar viewing.
Beyond this, Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse covers nearly the entire range of knowledge you’ll need, from viewing techniques to equipment like solar glasses to cameras, filters, binoculars and telescopes. For history buffs there’s a nice section on solar eclipses throughout history, and he details the science behind the eclipse. He provides a list of projects that you can take on, and of the most use for all eclipse goers - a curated selection of locations to view from. About the only thing you won’t find in the book is a definitive and specific list of hotels, campgrounds and contact info. As the path of totality covers thousands of miles, this isn’t so much an omission as a bow to the realities of the situation. He does provide state by state locations on the center line: more than enough information to allow one to narrow the field and pick their own destinations, something absolutely critical for those wishing to view the eclipse without booking a private tour.
In short, this is a mammoth resource.
If you are interested at all in viewing one of the most awe inspiring celestial events nature has to offer, then Michael Backich’s Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse is a must have.
Almost 400 pages. Color photos and graphs.
I appreciate all the safety information and the explanations of WHY some seemingly safe options are not safe.
Perusing the table of contents of this book reveals his encyclopedic knowledge of eclipses and how to view them. From a useful glossary of eclipse terms, to detailed maps of locations and “hot spots”, to safety instructions, nothing has been left out. Of real interest are the chapters on picking the right equipment and camera. I know I will want to record the eclipse, and these chapters really helped clear up this mystery.
My favorite chapter is “Eclipse in History”. Even though the upcoming eclipse of 2017 will be witnessed by an incredible number of people, there have been many others in the past that have astounded viewers. As Bakich points out, an eclipse even helped end a battle and a war in 585 BC.
As with these past events, there will be many eclipses in the future. This book may have been written for a specific eclipse, but it will long serve as an outstanding guide for the future. If you are hesitating over the price, DON’T! Like many, you may develop the itch to see more of these celestial dramas in the future. If so, you need this book by your side.