2016 Jamboree - 2017 Jamboree Possibilities: Great American Total Eclipse | Squat the Planet

2016 Jamboree 2017 Jamboree Possibilities: Great American Total Eclipse

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Oct 23, 2013
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(August 21 2017 Monday - 10:00AM Pacific Time)


While preparations and plans are already underway and in formation for the great Jamboree of 2016, I wanted to propose a possible location(s) for the 2017 Jamboree.

With adequate planning, next year, we may all collectively be able to experience a quantum of totality - the totality of a total eclipse that is. Total eclipses, or more accurately, total solar eclipses occur when the moon completely obscures the sun as the Earth, Moon, and Sun completely lines up in space. Total solar eclipses are rather rare astronomical events, and even rarer when they happen over land Earth's land masses as most of the planet's surface is water. Next year, a total solar eclipse will occur right over North America, crossing the entire continental United States. This is really a once in a life time opportunity and I think an experience of truly spiritual, even transcendental proportions, which is why I have started the thread here where I hope it will gather the most eyes. The next time a total solar eclipse will traverse every state of the continental USA will be late next century. In 2024, a second (and last for the century in the USA) total solar eclipse will occur in North America, but will only cross the Midwest to East portions of the USA. While at current time and space, the total eclipse is still over an year away, it is not too early to start preparations for this celestial event to be a possible Jamboree location for 2017, or even just for anyone who is interested in the cosmic event to plan their calendars around it.


While everyone in the continental USA will be able to see parts of the solar eclipse, not everyone will be able to witness the totality take place. What is the totality? The totality of an eclipse occurs when a stellar object completely obscures the light of the object behind it. In the case of the solar eclipse, the totality is what makes it a total eclipse and not a partial eclipse. The locations on Earth where the totality will occur can be predicted with celestial mechanics. Weather, however is less predictable. Fortunately, the total solar eclipse of 2017 will occur in the dead of summer when cloudy skies are least probable. Also fortunately, the total solar eclipse of 2017 will cross over some major American cities like Nashville, Tennessee and Columbia, North Carolina. Furtherfortune, the total eclipse will pass over several national parks across the United States where one can experience the celestial wonder along with the splendors of nature.


It is not so much a matter of difficulty to go view the total eclipse, but the process of planning and organizing a collective jamboree event to coincide with the eclipse. I think it will be an extraordinary event for Jamboree 2017 and is completely possible with enough planning. Remember how NASA's Voyager missions were carefully planned in the last century? Early in the 1960's, a few astronomers calculated that in the coming decades, the planets of the solar system would make a rare alignment/formation that occurs every century. A spacecraft sent from Earth could easily use the serendipitous planetary orbital alignments to basically visit every single major planet in our solar system (remember this was before the definition of planet changed in 2006) very cheaply. By hitchhiking the gravitational pull of planets, especially the gas giants, Voyager 1 and 2 used the minimum amount of fuel to gather the maximum amount of acceleration and science data in the shortest possible time - and the two probes did exactly that and more. To date, the Voyager spacecrafts are still in operation, amounting as one of the nation's, world's longest and most successful space missions. The two small spacecraft, with computing power of less than a single megahertz and 64kb of ram, has now exited the solar system and now traversing interstellar space. The two spacecrafts are the furthest physical testaments to human ingenuity, creativity, comradeship, and desire to explore the unknown. But those few celestial mechanic scientists could not have made the Voyager Program happen without the collective collaboration of hundreds of other minds. And while NASA has multi-billion dollar budgets to plan and execute such missions, we don't, but nevertheless, we have some of the most creative thoughtful minds here. A 2017 Total Eclipse Jamboree is totally possible. The most important part would be the planning. Some important parts of planning for a 2017 Jamboree to coincide with the total eclipse would be location and transportation. I plan that if a Total Eclipse Jamboree is to occur, the jamboree itself would have to last at least 3 to 5 days, the days prior to the actual eclipse of specific importance. I envision, from now until the possible event, the organizing of those of us with vans, buses, or cars in well calculated shortest-path routes to pick up people who want to go to the event from major hub cities along the path of the location where the Jamboree will take place. The jamboree location will be of importance as well, if it is to be a successful collective event. There are a few big cities that the eclipse will cross over as well as some national parks. The main issue however is for the location to be FREE, which means planning a location that will be directly under totality, but outside of populated areas enough where we can basically set up camp and squat for a few days and not be bothered by authorities.


Perhaps the most important aspect to consider in our planning is the percentage of totality. The closer to 100% - total totality - the better. Partial eclipses occur in parts of North America every few years or so, but the entire point of seeing a total eclipse is to experience the rare totality of when the moon completely obscures the sun and for a moment the day is as dark as night with only the stars and the ring of light - the glorious golden corona of the sun - illuminating the sky. As the eclipse begins, birds, insects, and all the wilder beasts of the animal kingdom will start to sing and shout to welcome the totality (actually they are just really confused). As the moon begins to pass under the sun, strange bursts of light and color will emerge around the eclipse as the moon warps the waves of light coming from the sun like a rainbow in space. While the entire eclipse will last around 30 minutes, the totality will only last around 2 minutes, but from those who have experienced the brief moments of totality, the experience has been described as an utterly spiritual splendor where the most powerful primal animalist emotions are released as one screams, sings, and even cries at the stellar event, just as our human ancestors likely once did all those years ago. Just look at this eclipse chaser gentleman experiencing totality on a plane harder than double (or triple) rainbow, what does it mean?

"oh my god, here it comes, look at it, here comes the shadow, it's like a tornado, oh my god, here we go, oh my god, it's coming, the moon's shadows it coming, oh my god, here we go, oh my god, it's coming right over us, like a storm, here it comes, TOTALITY, TOTALITY, TOTALITY!!!"

Here are some major American cities that the total eclipse will pass over and the predicted percentage of totality that can be seen at these locations:

Slab City 60 percent
Atlanta 97 percent
Boston 63 percent
Chicago 87 percent
Cincinnati 91 percent
Dallas 76 percent
Denver 92 percent
Detroit 79 percent
Houston 67 percent
Indianapolis 91 percent
Las Vegas 72 percent
Los Angeles 62 percent
Memphis 93 percent
Miami 78 percent
Milwaukee 83 percent
Minneapolis 83 percent
New Orleans 75 percent
New York City 72 percent
Oklahoma City 84 percent
Philadelphia 75 percent
Phoenix 63 percent
Pittsburgh 81 percent
Portland 99 percent
Salt Lake City 91 percent
Seattle 92 percent
Washington, D.C. 81 percent
Kansas City 80 percent
St. Louis 80 percent

Here are some smaller cities and towns that near total totality will pass over (with populations):

Carbondale, Illinois 26,000
Casper, Wyoming 58,000
Columbia, Missouri 113,000
Columbia, South Carolina 132,000
Grand Island, Nebraska 50,000
Greenville, South Carolina 61,000
Hopkinsville, Kentucky 33,000
Idaho Falls, Idaho 58,000
Jefferson City, Missouri 43,000
Paducah, Kentucky 25,000
Saint Joseph, Missouri 77,000
Salem, Oregon 157,000

Here are some major national parks where near total totality will occur over - from west to east:

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park (southern tip)
North Carolina: Great Smoky National Park (western sections)
Georgia: Black Rock Mountain State Park

I have a strong inclination that all of these parks will have massive amounts of people there to witness the eclipse. There are other national parks and smaller townships that will be close to or directly under the path of totality - will add them to the above list in an addendum memo to this proposal. We should try to plan for locations where we can basically jamboree the entire time at one place, and not have to drive some half an hour from the jamboree location to experience total totality.

If this big event is to happen, we should try to cover all probabilities and possibilities, so our collective effort is not made in vain. Murphy's Law sometimes just happens in science and in life, and it's a total bitch, so I want to try to cover all the bases I can think of here. One factor that will be difficult to control will be weather. It would be utterly spectacular oracular to experience the total eclipse as it starts on the Oregon Pacific coast, but this location is prone to fog. However, if the fog does roll in, and we have vehicles like buses and vans, we can drive to higher locations to witness the event. Of course, this is the worst case scenario. The best case scenario would be able to find some rural location somewhat close to a township or other place of interest to hold the entire eclipse jamboree through totality, and not have to drive somewhere else to see it. Hopefully, the celestial heavens will be our side with luck, and none of us trying to experience the totality will experience the kind of luck French astronomer-traveler Guillaume Le Gentil (don't even try to pronounce his complete name - which is longer than this sentence) did on his mission to record the 1761 and 1769 Venus transits. If anyone ever feels they are having a particularly bad day in their travels, try to feel a little better and that things could be worse, like a whole bad decade worse. Is anyone else amazed Le Gentil did not go complete insane from the luck he received during his over-a-decade long expedition? I think I certainly would have. May the spirit of Le Gentil illuminate all our journeys, in the world and in our minds. Have mercy. Here's a little video on Le Gentil and how people disappear:

I honestly believe that entire nations should declare holidays, work prohibited days, for these kinds of rare cosmic event. They only occur once or twice in a human lifetime and are immensely powerful at a deeply personal, psychological, sociological, almost sacredly spiritual level (and this is coming from a rather nonspiritual atheistic person). There is something about such cosmic occurrences that really pierces past our egos into the deepest dimensions of our primordial ids, where science touches ethereal seance, and soul meets body, and body melds with collective consciousness. If someone were to die or be born under the total eclipse, what an amazing way to exit or enter into life and this cosmos.


At this point, we are around 1 year and 3 months away from the Great American Total Eclipse of 2017. In the United States, this will likely be the total eclipse that will have most views and more coverage than ever before. A jamboree to coincide with the event would possibly be one of the most memorable jamborees thus far. Also, all the above information here is not limited to a jamboree proposal, and I hope the information compiled may be found useful for anyone who is traveling or making plans of traveling in the near future. Any thoughts, ideas, critiques, plans, imaginations, interpretive dances, dreams, etc are completely welcome and wanted!


Resources and Citations:


(Deeply apologize if this was the wrong forum to place this thread, I couldn't figure out whether to put this under the festivals/events or jamboree section. And apologies for my attempts at being poetic. And lastly, thanks so much Matt, for implementing the writing autosave feature, I got to the end of my writing, and when I pasted the link for the last video, my browser crashed <maybe the page couldn't handle the video, it's quite an intense video>. You could not believe how furious and sad I was - a few hours of writing completely lost...or so I thought. Opened up browser, oh my lord, what do I see before my little eyes, everything recovered. Matt, you are a godsend, an angel of the digital heavens)
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Holy fuck I can't believe I just read all that. Good shit. Probably seeing it at sunrise or sunset would be most intense. Any way to figure out the exact time or did I miss where you went over that?

Matt Derrick

Retired Wanderer
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Aug 4, 2006
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Portland, OR
it looks like nashville or clarksville would be the best spots to view it...

Pedal to the Metal

Pedal To The Metal
Dec 28, 2016
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Depending on where my bike takes me I am hoping to be just west of Casper, Wyoming or somewhere in the Sandhills of Nebraska for this event. Maybe Great Smokey Mountains. I have been keeping tabs on this event for almost 2 years and am not going to miss it.


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Feb 10, 2017
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Gang Mills, NY
Don't know what has been put together, but looking at the dark sky map, it looks like places like Shawnee Forest, Trail of Tears Forest, and a couple other small state forests in MO, IL, and TN may be promising camp sites. There's a potential spot on the Missouri River near Chamois that is in between the river, the RR and highway 100 that may be out of the way enough that not many people will be there.
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