Eclipse Viewing Party

It’s time to experience a mid-morning blackout — and not the kind in the third verse of a Jimmy Buffett song. To have a staring contest with the sun — and win! (You’ll need some solar shades, but we’ll get to those later.) Get ready to party like it’s 1979, because that’s the last time the United States experienced a total solar eclipse.

Why to plan an eclipse party

If you haven’t heard, this total solar eclipse is kind of a big deal. Did we mention that the moon will completely cover the sun? It’s called “totality,” and if we were cavemen and cavewomen dining on wooly mammoth ribs, we’d surely look up and think it was the end of days. The last time we experienced this phenomenon in the United States was four decades ago. We listened to Supertramp and we dressed like… the dudes in Supertramp, who kind of dress like cavemen. This is synergy, history and science wrapped up into a 1.989 × 10^30 kg ball of fire blocked out by a moonrock the size of Asia. And if that’s not a reason to party, we don’t know what is...

Breakfast in America

When and where to plan your eclipse party

On Aug. 21, you’ll be able to sneak a peek of the solar eclipse if you’re in San Diego or Bangor, Maine, but it won’t be the same as being in the direct path, a 70-mile-wide stretch of land streaking from Oregon to South Carolina. NASA has put together some helpful maps to see if you’re in the sweet spot or need to plot a road trip for your two minutes of glory. That’s right, depending on your location, the eclipse totality lasts anywhere from two minutes to 160 seconds. So time your bathroom break appropriately. (You really don’t want drive 500 miles to middle-of-nowhere Idaho only to miss the totality because you downed a 64-oz. Diet Mountain Dew on the way…)

As for the when, the solar eclipse first begins showing up in Maderas, Oregon at 9:06 a.m. PT, before heading southeast across the heartland and exiting South Carolina into the Atlantic Ocean after 4 p.m. ET. We could do all the fancy time zone math for you, but the folks at have already done a bang-up job of laying it out.

Eclipse Path

How to schedule your eclipse party

Astronomers stare into the business end of $9-billion telescope to tell us when an eclipse will happen. And we help folks like you get together for the occasion and then share those memories via photo-sharing and messaging. It’s what we do. Creating an eclipse watching party is as easy as bringing up your goHappy app, scheduling the time the sun and moon will get together in your neck of the woods, and inviting your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Remember, the plan can be shared with anyone and no one needs to download a thing. We even picked out an image you can upload to your plan to set the mood just right. (If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, you can find it here in the iOS app store.)

Oh, one pro tip: take traffic into account, especially if you’re in the eclipse bulls-eye. Wide participation is expected so book the event a little early and blast some Blue Oyster Cult “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

Eclipse Viewing

What to bring to your eclipse party:

For the picture-perfect eclipse viewing party, you’ll need the sun, the moon, a clear vantage point and these…

  • Solar shades: Leave your favorite pair of cheap sunglasses at home unless you want to be blinded by the light. No joke. You’ll need solar shades to safely view the spectacle in the sky. Try these NASA-recommended vendors: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17 — as well as the special offering below...
  • Food and drink: You’ll definitely want some special edition Moon Pies on hand (with solar shaded included!); it’s like wearing the concert t-shirt to the concert, right? To wash them down, consider a jug of Sunny D or six-pack of Blue Moon (and some orange wedges), if it’s going to be that kind of party...
  • Camera / smartphone: You’ve got roughly two minutes to take your greatest picture ever. No pressure. Make sure you’re all charged up and ready to go. And share it within your goHappy plan to easily relive the moment over and over again.
  • E.T. costume: Hey, when in Rome, right? If you’re hosting the party, then you need to be the star (get it?) This is one sure way to make it happen…

Eclipses happen once in a blue moon. With some help from goHappy, some slick promotional swag and a pair of solar shades, you’re going to throw the party of the year, maybe even the next 40 years.