When the internet's favorite scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was here last month for his "An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies" show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, we asked for some tips on making the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 a stellar experience.
Here's what he told us:
Do some advance research on your planned location
"Location is more than just being in the path of totality," Tyson said. "It’s not so much where you are but what the chances are that it will be clear while you’re there. Does it get thunderstorms? Is it overcast often?
"If you’re going to pick a spot, you should look at the long-term statistics."
Befriend an astronomer
"If they’re amateur astronomers, they’re totally friendly," he said. "I was a member of amateur astronomy groups as a kid. The first thing you want to do is grab people in the street, show them your telescope and what you’re looking at, and get completely angered because they have someplace to go."
Don't bother Neil deGrasse Tyson that day
Tyson plans to watch the eclipse at an undisclosed location. It's nothing personal. He just wants media covering the event on that day to seek out local experts for comments.
"There are probably tens of thousands of people in the country who know exactly as much as I do about eclipse viewing," he said.
"This would include members of amateur astronomy clubs, planetariums, community colleges and things like that," he said. "If I back away, it’ll force people to go to all their local (experts)."