News and Views

From my kids accomplishments, to my heretical perspective of the world

News and Views header image 2


August 21st, 2017 · 5 Comments

Gisele and I traveled to Idaho where we met Dale and Donna. We rented a cabin and they camped nearby in their Minnie-Winnies.

Although we were both already inside the path of totality, we were a little far from the center line, so on Monday morning we drove a few miles south. This increased the duration of totality from less than a minute at our cabin to over 2 minutes.

The day before we had scouted out a couple of potential viewing places, though we were worried that they would already be full by the time we got there this morning. Surprisingly our first choice was completely empty when we arrived. Another family joined us a little later, but there was plenty of room.

At 10:11 am I saw the first bit of sun disappear. This was not a new experience. I had seen partial eclipses before, but knowing what was coming it was a lot more interesting than in the past.

Sitting out in the open facing into the sun we were all getting hot. The sun was bright and the sky clear. But slowly as the moon covered more and more of the sun we got cooler and cooler until we all got up and put on jackets. The sky and surroundings gradually grew darker and darker as the moon slid further over the sun.

And then there was just a thin crescent remaining… And then even that winked out and suddenly the corona leaped into view, a glowing uneven halo surrounding a very black disk. The corona extended further out than I have seen in photos — almost twice the diameter of the sun in one direction.

All around us the world became dark, like a half-hour after sunset, though off in the distance all around we could still see blue sky. It was like a 360 degree sunset.

I could hear people exclaiming, excitedly talking to each other, pointing out things to look at. Almost straight overhead was a bright “star”, which I’m almost sure was Mercury. That was the only other celestial object we saw. Despite these other phenomena, my focus kept returning to that black, black disk surrounded by the beautiful glowing corona.

Much too soon, I began to notice a couple of beads of light appear on the trailing edge of the moon, and in a few seconds the edge of the sun broke free (“Diamond ring”).

In an exactly symmetrical fashion of the process that led up to totality, the sun grew into a thin crescent and slowly emerged from behind the moon. We stayed and watched in a post-climactic elation until just the tiniest bit of the sun remained eclipsed before we finally left.

I still keep flashing back to the experience of standing there under that black disk with the glowing halo around it. I didn’t burn my retina, but that image is burned in my mind. I’m sure I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. If I have a a chance to see another (2024?) I’ll try to go and experience this again.

Tags: Uncategorized

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Aug 21, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    It was an amazing experience and difficult to describe. But you captured it well. I’m glad we got to share it together. See you in the shadow 2024!

  • 2 Richard Lafferty // Aug 21, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Enjoyed the description.

  • 3 Dale // Aug 22, 2017 at 7:23 am

    It was a great ending to a wonderful trip for me. I will try to reflect on the experience but words can’t describe the feeling of watching it. Great post!

  • 4 Don // Aug 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I’m really looking forward to 2024. I am thinking about going to the center which is somewhere near Carbondale, IL. It’s where the 2017 and 2024 cross which also means the totality is at the max and the shadow is the closest to round.

    Or not, but reading this and watching Donna’s video make it sound awesome.

  • 5 Dale // Sep 16, 2017 at 11:58 am

    The spelling of pinon is of some debate in Wikipedia.

Leave a Comment