Consider this special, personal way to view the upcoming solar eclipse: Au naturel. The 2017 transcontinental solar eclipse will treat Tennessee to several minutes of astronomical excitement on Monday afternoon, Aug. 21. There will be countless scientific studies of the event nationwide, from NASA to local high school science departments; but only you can record your own personal observations of nature during the event.
Listen to the sounds of the eclipse. The animal world, especially birds and insects, will react dramatically as the rays of the afternoon sun fade into “sunset”. Minutes later they will react again to the “sunrise”, or the increase in the sun’s rays. Birds – especially watch small songbirds – will change to their evening songs, go silent and stop flying. Many will actually go to roost. The natural world will get quiet and still. Daytime insects will cease their chatter. Honey bees will leave the flowers and head for their hives. A short time after the occultation birds will begin their morning songs.
See and feel the physical effects of the eclipse. The air temperature will drop 10 to 15 degrees, chilling your skin. Dew may form on the grass. The sky will be dark enough for streetlights to turn on. Stars may appear in the darkened sky. Stand under a tree with a piece of white paper; the foliage will act like a pinhole camera and show you a collage of eclipse images indirectly and safely.
Choose a quiet place in nature far from the city noise; a state park or your own backyard may be a good spot. Activate the recorder on your smart phone early to capture the before-during-after effect. You do not have to be in the center of the totality path for a good experience. Maximum totality will be about two minutes, forty seconds; but 25 miles away, totality will be about one minute, forty seconds.
For Tennessee the central path of totality will occur from approximately 1:30 p.m. CDT in Clarksville (just north of Nashville), to 2:35 p.m. EDT in Athens (just north of Cleveland). Note that the elapsed statewide travel time is only five minutes. Total occultation of the sun will last almost three minutes along this line. Total occultation will be experienced for about 34 miles north and south of that line, but a shorter blackout period.
For a detailed map of the Tennessee path of the eclipse, go to www.eclipse2017.org/2017/maps/ky-tn-nc.gif. For more information, including a live view of the eclipse, should weather make that necessary, go to www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/eclipse-2017-nasa-supports-a-unique-opportunity-for-science-in-the-shadow.
More than ever Americans are saying, "I'd rather be fishing." With 1.5 million more participants than the previous year, fishing now has more than 47 million Americans hooked. That's the key finding of the 2017 Special Report on Fishing, now published by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).
"There's a reason that fishing is the second most popular outdoor activity for adults in the nation," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "It's a pursuit for people from all walks of life to enjoy – whether for getting exercise, being with family and friends, enjoying nature, escaping the usual demands of life, or experiencing excitement and adventure."
Nuggets from the report: Americans took 855 billion total fishing trips in 2016; 2.5 million new participants tried fishing for the first time, and they tended to be young and female; 3.8 million Hispanics participated in fishing, an 11-percent increase; 11 million youth participated in fishing, a three-percent increase; 83 percent of fishing trips resulted in a catch. See the full report and much more information at www.takemefishing.org.
On Saturday, Aug. 5, Tennessee’s traditional hand-drawn, in-person duck blind selections will take place at the regular sites and wildlife management areas across the state. At stake are the permanent blinds at the following sites in Middle and West Tennessee: Gooch WMA Unit A, Reelfoot WMA, Kentucky Lake (Camden Units I & II, Harmon’s Creek, Big Sandy, Gin Creek), Barkley WMA, Tigrett WMA, West Sandy, Old Hickory WMA, Cheatham Lake, Haynes Bottom WMA, and AEDC/Woods Reservoir.
Registration will be held from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. and the drawing of permits follows immediately at most locations. For specific addresses of blind drawings, interactive maps, and more information, go to www.tnwildlife.org, select Hunting and Waterfowl.
Computerized drawings will be held Sept. 6-27 for duck blinds in the Chattanooga area and some other western counties. Those blind sites are: Bogota and Thorny Cypress WMAs in Dyer County, Gooch Unit E, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, White Oak (Lebanon Pond area in Hardin County), and the four units on the Chickamauga WMA (Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek). Get applications at the above website.