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San Diego Eclipse Chasers Travel North For The Total Experience

Grossmont College astronomy instructor Philip Blanco is seen describing the S...

Photo by Guillermo Sevilla

Above: Grossmont College astronomy instructor Philip Blanco is seen describing the Sunspotter solar telescope, one of the safe ways for amateurs to view Monday's eclipse, Aug. 15, 2017.

Oregon is expecting around 1 million travelers to flood into the state next week, hoping for a glimpse of Monday's total solar eclipse. And some San Diego eclipse chasers will be among those traveling to remote areas within the path of totality.

Grossmont College astronomy instructor Philip Blanco plans to be in central Oregon, pointing a telescope directly at the moon as it passes in front of the sun. He is contributing to the Citizen CATE experiment, a cross-country effort to capture images of the inner solar corona.

Where Blanco is headed, things could be hectic. But he said it will be worth it.

"I don't like the crowds," Blanco said. "I'd rather be in the middle of a field somewhere. But there is that feeling of doing an expedition, overcoming some obstacles and working with a team, which is something that we as astronomers love to do."

Blanco booked his return flight long before making travel arrangements into Oregon. After the eclipse, he plans to fly back to San Diego just in time to arrive at Grossmont College for his first day of classes on Tuesday.

San Diego Astronomy Association president Mike Chasin said about a dozen members of his organization will also be traveling to Oregon. But he plans to fly to Wyoming with his daughter to see his first total eclipse.

"I've never seen one," Chasin said. "I've heard they're really spectacular and no words or videos will do it justice. You just have to experience it yourself. Having one that wasn't too far away, it just seemed like the right time to make the trip and check it out."

Plenty of local astronomy buffs are staying put in San Diego. They are hoping for clear skies and an unobstructed view of a partial eclipse that will peak at 10:23 a.m. Monday. The Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park will be holding an eclipse viewing event, as will public libraries across San Diego.

Oregon is expecting around 1 million travelers to flood into the state next week, hoping for a glimpse of Monday's total solar eclipse. And some San Diego eclipse chasers will be among those traveling to remote areas within the path of totality.

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