April 5, 2024

Eclipse Mania!

Eclipse Mania!

Many Americans are already gearing up for the solar eclipse on Monday, when the moon will block the sun completely, along its 100-mile-wide path from Texas to Maine. Authorities expect millions of people to try to see the totality—and maybe the Northern Lights if they’re lucky—along the corridor where it will be viewable.

This is a rare event, and here in New York City, where 90% of the sun will be blocked, many people are already buying the special protective glasses needed to observe it safely. I’m looking forward to getting a glimpse of it myself.

If you’re planning to watch it, make sure you get your specs from a legitimate source, like your local library or an eyewear store—apparently, there are some counterfeits out there already.

Of course, it could all be a wash. If we have cloudy weather, we might not be able to see the eclipse at all.

But that isn’t stopping brands from having a field day. Oreo is introducing the Oreo Space Dunk cookie, Sun Chips has rolled out Solar Eclipse Limited Edition Pineapple Habanero and Black Bean Spicy Gouda Sun Chips (only available for 4 minutes and 27 seconds), and Sonic will be offering the Blackout Slush Float (eclipse-viewing glasses included). Meanwhile, Snapple has come up with the Snapple Elements Sun, made with starfruit, and Smoothie King is peddling the Eclipse Berry Blitz Smoothie, available now through the day of the eclipse…to name just a few pop-up products.

That’s not to mention all of the flights, rental cars, and hotel rooms people are booking with the hopes of getting a glimpse. A professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio has estimated that the event will bring $1.5 billion into states, like Texas, where visitors can witness it.

There’s a downside to all of the hoopla. If you are planning to travel to the viewing areas in the 15 states where the eclipse will be visible, good luck—there is going to be lots of traffic. Officials in some states are already warning that cell service could get very choppy due to the large number of people converging in one place. GPS devices and mobile terminals could also see glitches.

But that’s not likely to deter anyone. We won’t see another eclipse like this until 2044.

Eid-Al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, is expected to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the sighting of the moon. To those who observe this period of fasting and reflection, Eid Mubarak!