Safety first: since Utah will only see a partial solar eclipse, special ISO-certified glasses are a must. They’re widely available—the Clark Planetarium ordered 100,000 pairs and is selling them for $2 each.
But some vendors are selling fake glasses that could damage the eyes. Planetarium director Seth Jarvis says there’s a simple test to finding a safe pair.
"What you’re really looking for are glasses that when you look around, the only thing you can see is the sun," Jarvis says. "You shouldn’t see buildings and cars going by in sunlight."
On August 21, I-15 through northern Utah will be the country’s second busiest road as people flock to Idaho and Wyoming to view the total solar eclipse.
Towns along the "line of totality"—including Idaho Falls and Casper, Wyoming—are expecting close to half a million visitors. Viewers in those places will experience the total solar eclipse for just over two minutes.
"Wherever it is you plan to observe the eclipse on the Monday the 21, you should wake up Sunday the 20 at that location," Jarvis says.
He recommends hitting the road early and packing all the essentials: including extra food, water, gas, and "everything you’re going to need," Jarvis says.
"Every gas station, every grocery store, every McDonald’s in the vicinity of the eclipse is going to have a thousand cars all trying to get stuff out of there," he says. "And you don’t want to get stuck."
And Jarvis notes other celestial events in the coming years: an annular eclipse will pass over the state in 2023. Utah will finally be in the path of a total solar eclipse—in 2045.
"That’s going to be a very deep, powerful eclipse," Jarvis says. "Totality is going to last over five minutes."
The 2045 eclipse will travel northwest through the state, including over Arches National Park.
View the full interview with Seth Jarvis here.