Eclipse FAQ

Click here for a complete list of frequently asked questions

What is a total solar eclipse?

Essentially, it’s when the moon moves in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time. Stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops and day turns to night. The darkness of the sky gives you a unique view of the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. Important note: You’ll want to pick up a pair of eclipse glasses to see this event take place; looking directly at the sun without these specialized glasses could cause eye damage. (source: eclipse2017.org

Do I need eclipse-specific glasses to view the eclipse? 

Yes, you will need specialty eclipse-viewing glasses as sunglasses will not provide enough eye protection. Some Wyoming partners and businesses will have eclipse glasses available, but you should plan on purchasing your own in advance. Glasses are available through many online retailers. 

The following telescope and solar-filter companies manufacture and/or sell eclipse glasses and/or handheld solar viewers that have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products. 

Solar Viewer Brands: American Paper Optics (Eclipser) / EclipseGlasses.com / 3dglassesonline.com, Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers), DayStar (Solar Glasses), Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses), Halo Solar Eclipse Spectacles, Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses), Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers), Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades),  Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses) and Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite). (source: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety)

When will it happen?

Monday, August 21st, 2017. Go ahead and clear your calendar, you won’t want to miss it. Timing of the eclipse will vary based on where you are located along the path of totality. Check out www.eclipse2017.org for the actual times of totality from your viewing location.

Aren’t these pretty common?

Not as common as you might think. While one happens every year or other year somewhere on earth, you have to be situated in a very narrow strip of land (called the path of totality) if you want to see the total phase of the eclipse. Otherwise, all you’ll see is a partial eclipse – more common, and honestly not nearly as cool. (source: www.eclipse2017.org)

Which Wyoming destinations are directly along the path of totality?

Destinations that lie directly within the path of totality include: Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Dubois, Lander, Riverton, Arapahoe, Ethete, Fort Washakie, Pavilion, Shoshoni, Boysen Reservoir State Park, Wind River Canyon, Casper, Glenrock, Douglas, Lusk, Guernsey, Guernsey State Park, Glendo State Park, Wheatland, Fort Laramie National Historic Site and Torrington.

If I'm outside the path of totality in Wyoming, will I still see the total solar eclipse? 

While the total solar eclipse can only be seen if you are directly in the path of totality, a partial eclipse will be visible from destinations in Wyoming outside the path of totality. A partial solar eclipse takes place when the moon covers a large portion of the sun; even if you do not make it to the path of totality in Wyoming, the partial eclipse will still be an impressive event. As a reminder, you will need eclipse-viewing glasses to view the partial eclipse. 

Can I camp on public lands? 

Yes, camping is generally allowed on Wyoming's public lands and is one of the best ways to experience the state's wide-open spaces. Wyoming's public lands are made of up 17.8 million acres and include national parks, national and forests, state parks and BLM-managed lands, with specific opportunities related to each.

National parks: Wyoming's national parks, monuments and recreation areas have a variety of first-come first-serve campsites, while some sites can be reserved in advance. Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Bighorn Canyon and Devils Tower offer camping.

National forests: In the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Region, camping is available at developed campgrounds, as well as dispersed camping, backpacking camping and horse camping.

Wyoming state parks: State parks in Wyoming offer an array of camping options that include traditional campsites, as well as camping cabins and yurts. More information can be found here.

BLM: Most BLM-managed lands in Wyoming allow camping at both designated campgrounds and dispersed sites.

Are there regulations for campfires in Wyoming? Yes, Wyoming does have rules and regulations when it comes to fires and campfires. Learn more about them here. Be sure to check fire restrictions in the area where you plan to view the total solar eclipse. You can see fire restrictions here.  

What do I need to do if I want to bring my boat to Wyoming for the eclipse? 

If you are bringing your boat to Wyoming there are a couple of things you need to know: your motorized boat must be registered in your home state and when you get to Wyoming, you must have your boat inspected to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. In addition, you will need to purchase an AIS decal before launching your boat on any Wyoming water.  Here is a link to locations where you can get an inspection. For more safety tips, as well as Wyoming's laws and regulations on boating, visit the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website

How much time should I allow for travel to view the eclipse? 

It depends where you're traveling from, but our best advice is to plan for more travel time than you think you'll need. We're anticipating strong visitation throughout Wyoming, especially in the path of totality, so give yourself plenty of time to travel to your eclipse-viewing destination. You can view the latest Wyoming road conditions and updates here

Where can I find up-to-date information when the day (August 21st, 2017) comes? 

The most current information about the eclipse can be found at travelwyoming.com/eclipse and on twitter at @WyomingTourism

Where else in Wyoming can I stay if most places along the path of totality are unavailable?

As the path of totality will stretch from the west side of Wyoming to the east side of the state, there are abundant lodging option within a two-hour drive of the path of totality, including Cody, Rock Springs, Pinedale, Rawlins, Sheridan and Cheyenne. Peruse the full list of places to stay in Wyoming here.

Can I park along highways and interstates to view the elipse?

No, it is illegal to park along interstates (including on and off ramps) and highways except in a designated parking area. 

Can I view the eclipse from public lands (state, BLM, U.S.F.S., etc.)?

Yes. These lands are generally open to public recreational use, but are subject to the regulations of the managing agency. In general, use common sense. Know where you are at all times, ask first before entering private land, observe signs and posted areas, stick to roads and avoid travel that will cause damage to the land. As many of Wyoming's public lands share property lines with private landowners, please be respectful and do not trespass. A full interactive map that highlights public lands is accessible here. Also, use a "pack it in, pack it out" mindset - don't litter and leave all gates the way you found them. Additional information can be found here

What should I do if the weather forecast doesn't look favorable from my planned viewing location during the eclipse?

It may sound obvious, but you will have to be able to see the sun if you want to see the eclipse. Keep an eye on the weather forecast in the days leading up to the event. If your planned area’s forecast looks cloudy or overcast, you may want to look at other areas nearby that will likely have clear skies.

What do I need to bring with me to enjoy the eclipse? 

There are many items you should bring with you on your eclipse-viewing adventure, including eclipse glasses (these are required), plenty of water (it can be dry and hot in August and it's important to stay hydrated), sunscreen (due to Wyoming's high elevations, visitors typically get more exposure to the sun) and snacks (any good adventure will make you hungry). We also recommend keeping your gas tank as full as possible, as Wyoming's wide-open spaces often have long distances between gas stations.

Here are some helpful links about the eclipse:

Great American Eclipse 2017

WyoParksEclipse 

Eclipse Casper

Eclipse Wind River

How to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse

Eclipse2017.org

NationalEclipse.com

Don’t forget to join the social conversation by using #ThatsWY, #WYEclipse and #WYSkies to track your adventures and follow others.