The solar eclipse has been blowing people’s minds since, well, forever. In 680 B.C., Greek poet Archilochus believed Zeus was behind the astronomical act.
“Nothing there is beyond hope, nothing that can be sworn impossible, nothing wonderful, since Zeus, father of the Olympians, made night from mid-day, hiding the light of the shining Sun, and sore fear came upon men,” Archilochus wrote.
Historical documentation of solar eclipses dates back to 3340 B.C. Eclipses are an incredible sight to behold, and on Aug. 21, 2017, thousands of people plan to watch a total solar eclipse first hand. Plus, to capitalize on the event, Airbnb is planning a pretty irresistible promotion.
Your Love Is Like a Shadow on Me All of the Time
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit places it between the Earth and the sun. For a short period of time, the moon blocks the light from the sun, casting a shadow onto the Earth. To see a total eclipse, you must be in the very specific pathway of the center of the moon.
The totality pathway for the Aug. 21 eclipse begins in Oregon, passes across the Midwest, stretches all the way to the East Coast, and exits through South Carolina. Almost every hotel and campground along this path is already booked solid. That’s where Airbnb comes in.
Forever’s Going To Start Tonight
National Geographic and Airbnb are teaming up to offer an epic eclipse experience. Contest winners will travel to the desert of Bend, Oregon, the evening before the eclipse. Once there, the winners will spend the night in a transparent geodesic dome, complete with an observation deck and telescopes. Guests will also be joined by astrophysicist Dr. Jedidah Isler and science journalist Babak Tafreshi for dinner under the night sky.
The next morning, a private jet will take the lucky winners two hours out across the Pacific Ocean. During the flight’s return, the eclipse will begin, allowing the passengers a view of its first moments.
Anyone is eligible to enter the contest. However, Airbnb asks everyone who’s interested in entering the contest to answer a question for their submission. The site wants to know why, in 550 words or less, you think the eclipse is bringing people together and why you want to be a part of the experience.
Total Eclipse Of The Heart
Be sure to use proper eye protection if you’re able to witness the eclipse firsthand. You should never stare directly at the sun, even during the process of an eclipse. NASA recommends getting a pair of solar viewing glasses. You can also make your own pinhole projector to view the eclipse indirectly. Looking directly at the sun can cause severe eye damage, so avoid that.
“Exposure of the retina to intense visible light causes damage to its light-sensitive rod and cone cells. The light triggers a series of complex chemical reactions within the cells which damages their ability to respond to a visual stimulus, and in extreme cases, can destroy them,” wrote professor B. Ralph Chou. “The result is a loss of visual function which may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the damage.”
There’s still time to make plans to get to the eclipse’s path of totality. However, if you aren’t able to travel to the pathway, there are online options that allow you to watch it all happen. In the meantime, get psyched up for the historic moment with Bonnie Tyler’s classic homage to celestial bodies in motion…or choir boys with glowing eyes, or dancing ninjas, or something. It’s hard to tell.