Where in the neighborhood do we watch the eclipse?
August 3, 2017 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I suggested an eclipse viewing party for my office and the higher-ups loved the idea, so I bought some eclipse glasses and am ready to get our eclipse on. But I have also been tasked with finding the best viewing location in our neighborhood and I'm kind of stumped. I'm in NYC and my office is right by the South Street Seaport. The eclipse will be peaking around 2:45. Is there a way to determine where in the sky the sun will be around then? Do I just find high ground? (Part of me wants to say we all go on the Brooklyn Bridge but that sounds like it would be ridiculously crowded.) This may be super obvious but I'm drawing a blank and welcome any and all suggestions.
posted by Neely O'Hara to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
From NYC the eclipse will be due SW, 53 degrees elevation so quite high in the sky. Anywhere with a clear view of the SW would be fine. I'd try to be near some trees because the shadows are my favorite artifact of the eclipse and they're much easier to photograph.
posted by wnissen at 9:03 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is there a way to determine where in the sky the sun will be around then?

Sure - just go outside tomorrow at 2:45 and check. Sol's position in the sky relative to time of day does change, but over the course of seasons - not so noticeably over just a few weeks.
posted by Rash at 9:05 PM on August 3, 2017 [9 favorites]

Seconding Rash. Go outside at 2:45 and find a place that is in the sunshine. By definition, you'll be able to see the sun from there. You can even check out the direct view of the sun using your eclipse glasses.

Two other amazing things about a partial solar eclipse: First, the strength of the sunlight gradually dims over the course of an hour or so before the maximum eclipse (depending on the degree of maximum coverage). It's quite uncanny. Second, the circular dapples of sunlight that you see under trees are in fact pinhole projections of the disc of the sun. During the partial eclipse, all those dapples become crescents. So there's another thing to scout for so you can witness it yourself!
posted by heatherlogan at 6:16 AM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Certainly the view from Battery Park will be great, though I'm sure that will be full of people. Have a look today and see if you can see it down the street, you might not even have to walk a block. One of the smaller waterfront parks on the south side would be fine as well.

Now's the time to make a camara obscura, I think they are more fun than the glasses.
posted by wnissen at 9:04 AM on August 4, 2017

Yeah, going out and checking a few days before is your simplest bet. But I'm not in New York, so I found a couple of web tools to help you. Also they're fun.

Suncalc.org tells you the exact position of the sun at 2:44pm August 21, the orange line. As wnissen says it's at 53 degrees elevation, due SW. You can run the animation or drag the sun slider at the top to see how it traverses the sky during the afternoon.

NYCHenge shows which streets are aligned with the sun at sunset on August 21. This isn't entirely helpful, since the eclipse is two hours before sunset. If you fudge the date to the winter solstice the sunset is as close to SW as it ever gets in NYC (239 degrees), so that shows you where there might be a street alignment around 3:30pm on the day of the eclipse, the half-devoured sun spilling down the middle of a street. Looks like Water Street might be interesting.
posted by Nelson at 9:10 AM on August 4, 2017

Smarter Every Day has a video up explaining how to do this.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:42 AM on August 4, 2017

Looks like it may be as simple as just walking out to the East River Esplanade. Thanks to Nelson's reference to Suncalc.org plus this bearing and distance calculator we can see the sun will be just slightly south of running parallel to the East River shoreline at that point.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:46 AM on August 4, 2017

Can you get on the roof of your building?
posted by fshgrl at 12:41 PM on August 4, 2017

« Older Holly Hunter's awesomest   |   How to investigate/mitigate $29,000 wire transfer... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.