The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Total eclipse 2024 Survival Guide

Emma Cathers

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s this silly little astronomical phenomenon happening next week. 

I think they’re calling it a “total eclipse.” Bonnie Tyler fans, I guess. 

And apparently, it’s kind of a big deal. 

Some are saying it might even be bigger than Phish’s last ever concert in 2004, when about 68,000 visitors caused standstill traffic for 30 miles back on I-91 and overwhelmed the small town of Coventry. 

Our humble little “city” of Burlington is expecting anywhere from tens of thousands of visitors to over 160,000, according to a March 24 VTDigger article

Burlington officials claim they’re prepared for as many as 50,000 visitors—any more than that, however—and all bets are off.

I can already see it: standstill traffic stretching all the way to Springfield—and not the one in VT—stoners dazed and confused at all the crowds outside, wondering if 4/20 came early this year, all while native Vermonters cower in fear of all flatlanders. 

I see all-out chaos: CatPause looters, the purge fully unfolding in the Grundle, Greta breaking out of her glass, Rally Cat unzipping and revealing that there’s no one underneath the suit. There never was. 

But don’t let all this scare you. I’m here to help you prepare for it all, expect the unexpected and make it out alive and ready for class on Tuesday, all while maximizing shareholder value. 

Coordinate your outfit to your eclipse glasses

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably less than thrilled about wearing those flimsy solar glasses. 

As a glasses wearer—and diametrically opposed to contact lenses, so don’t even—I dread any occasion that requires me to wear glasses on top of my glasses. Like what, did we all just come from the optometrist’s? 

As much as I wish I could wear my prescription sunglasses, I care about retaining my vision just a smidge more. If only Warby Parker made solar glasses. 

Since I don’t plan on going blind anytime soon, I figure I might as well work the (double) glasses into my fit, and I suggest you do too. Can’t be caught lacking during a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Always use protection

Like I mentioned earlier, regular sunglasses just won’t do. If you don’t believe me, just listen to Bill Nye

Looking at the sun without proper eye protection can cause severe and possibly permanent eye damage, according to NASA’s page on total eclipse safety.

For the few minutes when the eclipse has reached totality and you can no longer see the sun through your glasses, however, it is okay to remove your eyewear, according to the same NASA page. But just for those few minutes. 

Don’t fall for shitty solar sunglass scams

When it’s a matter of seeing or not seeing, I don’t know if I’d trust Amazon. No matter how fast their shipping is. 

Not only that, but if you’re a UVM student—or at all affiliated with the University—don’t bother buying glasses. UVM will be distributing solar glasses in the week before the eclipse, according to a Feb. 28 UVM Today article.

If you live on campus: you’ll get your pair at your residence hall.

If you live off campus: you can grab a pair at the Davis Center.

If you’re not a Catamount, you can order a pair from the American Astronomical Society’s list of safe solar viewer’s and filters

Read your horoscope

No one’s quite sure why the eclipse happens or exactly what is going on during one, and I don’t really feel like googling it. But while our nation’s top scientists are still scratching their heads at this one, astrologists have been studying the stars for millenia. 

Whether you believe in zodiacs or not, you have to admit—there’s probably some astrological shit going down with the total eclipse—and I’d rather be safe than sorry. 

Not to mention Mercury in retrograde. Better not to take any chances. 

So, try and figure out what this all means for your sign, and if that’s too complicated, don’t be afraid to finally tell the girl you like your birth time. And if she runs away, it wasn’t meant to be. 

Do not, under any circumstances, move your car

Listen, it’s bad enough to try and find a parking spot on an average weekday at UVM without adding 50,000 confused tourists to the list. 

I wouldn’t want to be stranded without a parking spot. You know UVM Parking Enforcement is just lying in wait for someone to park in the wrong spot.

And if you have a Kia or Hyundai, you might as well say your goodbyes now. 

Remember your constitutional rights

Just because someone claims to be part of the National Guard does not mean you have to give them a place to stay ahead of the eclipse. 

Just because someone served doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to take the same route to find eclipse accommodations as the rest of us civilians. I’m sure they’ll be able to find a last minute open Airbnb within an hour or two of our lovely city.

And if your camouflaged friend gives you trouble, don’t fret—our founding fathers have your back. Just cite the trusty ol’ Third Amendment, everyone’s favorite amendment and most useful section of the Bill of Rights by far. 

Just look them in the eyes and say: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

I would recommend keeping a pocket Constitution on your person at all times. 

Curb your expectations

Listen, Vermont isn’t exactly known for its clear skies and sunny spring weather.

I’m not saying it’s not going to be sunny…but statistically speaking, it’s unlikely. Judging by historical daily averages for cloud cover on April 8 in Burlington, there’s a less than 1 out of 5 chance that it won’t be cloudy on the big day. 

Who knows, maybe this year global warming will act in our favor.

Take it easy

If you’re overwhelmed by all the different events going on and you’re not sure what or where to start, check out the Culture staff’s recommendations.

Whether you’ve been looking forward to this for months, or you could really care less—do your best to appreciate the moment. Even if it does rain. 

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About the Contributor
Ayelet Kaminski
Ayelet Kaminski, Opinion Editor
(She/her) Ayelet Kaminski is a sophomore microbiology major and psychology minor from New Haven, CT. She started at the Cynic as a columnist in the fall of 2022 and quickly fell in love with the opinion section. In her free time, Ayelet enjoys glassblowing, reading and linocutting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Ayelet.