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Do I need to be a member to attend?
No. You can purchase a ticket, which will simply admit you for the day on August 21. However, a membership will not only get you in for the day, but put you ahead of the crowd by not having to wait in line. The other 364 days of the year, your membership is your free ticket into over 300 science centers around the U.S., including Lowell Observatory.
Will you be accepting credit cards?
Yes, you will be able to pay with a credit card. However, to expedite transactions and reduce wait time we strongly encourage bringing cash. There will be an ATM on site to withdraw cash from.
Where can we find lodging, RV, or camping spots in Madras?
While many hotels and campgrounds have already been booked, there are still plenty of camping and RV spots available in Madras. Please check our “Where to Camp” page for information. Check www.vrbo.com and www.airbnb.com for other options.
Can we camp in the great outdoors?
There are several areas in the Crooked River National Grassland for visitors to camp. These areas are somewhat remote, be sure to have plenty of food, water, and fuel. Please be very careful as this is wildfire territory! Also, please be mindful and respectful of private property. Please check our “Where to Camp” page for information.
Will we be able to have campfires?
No. The eclipse is occurring at the height of fire season in an agriculturally dominant landscape. Wildfire is a major concern for Central Oregon and with tens of thousands of visitors to the Madras area during the height of wildfire season, it is imperative that everyone exercise due diligence and safety. The average nighttime temperatures in August are very comfortable, so warming fires won’t be necessary. Central Oregon Fire Info.
Are there places to set up our telescopes?
There are lots of open areas where visitors can set up a telescope. Our 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience will have many telescopes available for attendee viewing.
Will there be activities, festivals, things to do?
In addition to all the recreational opportunities in the Madras area, there will be several sites offering music, vendors, and entertainment.
Are there enough restaurants to accommodate the influx of visitors?
Madras restaurants will be dialed up with increased inventories, extended business hours and staffing beginning on the Thursday prior to the Monday eclipse. We will have food and beverages available for purchase to all event attendees. Additionally, there will be food carts and vendors at various locations around town. Visitors can buy groceries locally or purchase local produce and meat for cooking at their campsites.
Will roads be closed before, during & immediately after the eclipse?
During a major event such as this, it may be necessary to close a road and/or divert traffic due to an unforeseen issue (traffic accident, emergency, etc.). There are designated routes to the planned event/festival areas to help the flow of traffic and signage will be prevalent.
Can we park on the side of the highways & roadways?
No. The eclipse is occurring at the height of fire season in an agriculturally dominant landscape. Over-heated vehicles are of major concern. Pulling your vehicle off on to an area that is not designated for parking is not only dangerous, but can also ignite a fire. Please plan to arrive in the area days prior to the eclipse and stay in a safe, designated area. Plan to arrive no later than Sunday night, park in one of the Park & View lots, and nap in your car until morning. Please don’t block fire hydrants (for safety reasons), respect property owners and don’t block their driveways, and overall, don’t park in “No Parking” areas.
How long will it take to travel to Madras from surrounding communities?
On a typical day, Madras is 2½-3 hours from Portland and Eugene, 1½ hours from the Columbia River Gorge area; and 45 minutes from Bend. However, during the days leading up to the eclipse, plan on much longer travel times – possibly two to three times longer.
Where is the best place to park when we arrive on Monday morning?
Based on educated predictions and general consultation, Monday morning may be too late to arrive and experience the total eclipse. Local community planners suggest “daytrippers” actually arrive Sunday night around 10:00 pm and sleep in their car (or enjoy spectacular starry skies all night). Our 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience will open Monday morning, 6am.
Will places be open on the weekend for eating, shopping, exploring?
Yes. Please note local businesses will close during the actual eclipse so they can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Will there be space available for me to stay in Madras or am I too late?
It is never too late but advance planning will be extremely helpful. If “fee” spots are sold out, there are many open areas for camping, especially in the Crooked River National Grassland, but visitors must follow all regulations of the Bureau of Land Management and be sure to have plenty food, fuel, and water for the duration. Please check our “Where to Camp” page for information.
Will Madras be able to handle the influx of people for the eclipse?
The community of Madras is excited to have visitors experience the total solar eclipse from their beautiful town. Planning began in 2015 to prepare for the anticipated number of visitors.
Will there be shuttle service & where will it take me?
A shuttle service will be available from the north end of Madras, through downtown to the south end of Madras. It will stop along the way at several of the venues, including our 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience, locations hosting campers, grocery stores, and local businesses. Visitors will need a wristband to utilize the shuttle, but the fee is reasonable. Shuttle passes can be pre-purchased at OregonSolarfest.com.
If I decide to drive into Madras just to see the eclipse, how much will parking costs be?
Pricing for parking will vary by location and vendor. Based on educated predications and general consultation, Monday morning may be too late to arrive and experience the total eclipse. Local community planners suggest visitors arrive no later than Sunday night by 10:00 pm and sleep in their car (or enjoy spectacular starry skies all night).
Can I bring my animal(s)?
This is dependent upon where visitors decide to stay. With the exception of ADA certified service dogs, animals will not be allowed on the shuttles or in most businesses or public festivals. In addition, the average temperatures in the Madras area during August can be extremely high (average 86’), so please don’t leave animals locked in hot vehicles – cars, RV’s or tied up at campsites.
Can I just drive to somewhere in the path of totality, park and watch it wherever I end up?
Yes, as long as it is done safely. Wildfire is a very big concern for the Madras community, so pulling your vehicle off the road into a dry grassy area is not a good idea. If visitors aren’t able to get here early and park in an appropriate area, please be mindful of the type of road being traveling, traffic conditions, and type of terrain. Don’t park in emergency response areas, in front of hydrants, etc., and please don’t block people’s driveways.
Do I really need those glasses to watch the eclipse?
It is imperative that eclipse viewers wear eclipse-safe eye protection (solar glasses). Any other form of eye protection, such as sunglasses, is not safe. Severe eye damage can occur. Viewing the sun while any part of its bright disk is still visible during the partial phases prior to and after the eclipse totality is not safe. The only time it is safe to view the eclipse with no protection is during the two minutes of totality. We will provide solar eclipse protective glasses, as well as “minute by minute” instruction for the duration of the eclipse to further facilitate safe eclipse viewing.
I would like to take photos and videos of the eclipse.
Not only is Madras in the path of totality but spectacular scenery awaits those who choose Madras as their eclipse viewing location. Madras is located in the high desert of Central Oregon with the backdrop of Mt. Jefferson and the Cascade Mountain range, as well as beautiful red rock and basalt canyon walls above lakes and rivers. For photographing the eclipse, visitors will need special solar lenses and filters for your camera, video cameras, and telescopes to avoid equipment damage. For many of this is a once in a lifetime event – professional photos will abound and be available thru various mediums.
Is it safe to view with my telescope? Binoculars?
As for telescopes, yes, but only if you have special solar lenses and filters that fit over the end of the scope (not the eyepiece). Binoculars are safe ONLY during the brief period of totality.
What is the chance that it will be a cloudy day?
Madras has a historically high predictability of clear skies during the month of August – particularly in the mornings. Cloud cover of any sort is unusual in August and if any inclement weather occurs it is generally in the late afternoon. This is a primary reason Madras has been identified as one of the BEST locations to experience the total eclipse. The chance of clear skies in Madras, Oregon is 90% on August 21. However, refunds will not be issued in the event of cloudy skies.
Can I just watch the whole thing on TV?
The Science Channel will be broadcasting the eclipse from our 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience located at the Jefferson County High School Football Field.
After the eclipse then what?
Our Solar Eclipse Experience is a full day event including ongoing astronomer talks, demonstrations, educational exhibits, vendors, and mobile planetariums.
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