On August 21, 2017, I experienced one of the most amazing things of my life thus far! I viewed Solar Eclipse 2017 in its totality with a PERFECTLY clear sky! Here’s how having a geologist-husband, driving 2,500 miles one way, and the perfect conditions made this experience possible…
Years ago, Mike my husband, told me that we would be somewhere along the line of totality to see the Solar Eclipse 2017. This past year, the planning began. Since we are both teachers and have the summers off, we decided that we were going to hop in our Pickup Camper and go to the perfect location to view the eclipse. Of course Mike researched the science behind this and determined that the Wyoming/Teton area was statically one of the best places along the path of totality to have the lowest chance of clouds or rain- 9%. So out west we went….We WERE seeing this thing! When we left we had no definite plan of the spot we would be at about 11:30AM on the 21st, but we had all the freedom we needed as we carried our “home” in the bed of our Tacoma. We knew that cities along the path would be mobbed. We knew that campsites in the path were going for HUNDREDS of dollars each. (It was RIDICULOUS). We wanted to steer clear of the madness. Luckily, we were able to meet up with our long-time scientist friend, Brianna, and were invited to stay at her friend’s brother’s house in Driggs, Idaho. I got a sense that the “planets were all aligning” and the viewing was going to be AMAZING! :)… Everything was falling into place…
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Why was Solar Eclipse 2017 such a big deal in our country (and to us)?
Total solar eclipses, where the moon moves in the path between the sun and the Earth darkening a path on the Earth, happen relatively frequently around the planet. However, most of these go unseen as they happen over oceans. Solar Eclipse 2017 was special because it “happened” across a path from the west coast to the east coast of the USA. Those in the path of totality were able to witness this 90 or so minute event and view more than 2 minutes of total coverage. This was the first time in almost a century this has occurred! IT WAS A BIG DEAL TO US!
Monday August 21, 2017-
At about 10AM, Brianna and I set up our cameras and started to test out taking pictures of the sun with the solar filter for the camera that I had. We got our glasses ready and the anticipation started. We waited…. we looked…. and we waited….
At about 10:15, the tiniest bit of the upper right side of the sun became darkened by the moon as it was moving in the path of the sun. The jumping and excitement started! For the next hour or so, we continued to click (hundreds of) pictures, view the sun through our glasses, and stand in awe as we all contemplated both the enormity of our universe and how miniscule we as people are on it! 🙂 When the sun was halfway covered, someone mentioned that it was colder. It was unreal, the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees and was still going down. The realization of the true power of the sun’s light was being proven on our skin right then and there. Also, we noticed that the effect of the lighting around us was different than normal too. There was a brownish, sepia effect to everything around us. It was getting dimmer, but a very eerie kind of dim… A new wave of excitement came over us.
The moment the moon moved directly in front of the sun, we all lost our minds. We yelped loud cheers, jumped up and down, and expletives were screamed out as we all were in total awe and wonderment of the moment. We were busy alternating clicking pictures and looking through glasses to view the black dot surrounded by the awesome glowing corona. I took a moment notice that it was dark, close to twilight-like lighting, and that besides us fools screaming- the Earth had gone silent. The energy level around us definitely changed. I was able to see some stars glowing in the dark sky. I remember just shaking my head in pure disbelief at what I was experiencing. I was smiling ear-to-ear the entire time. Totality lasted for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. It was the absolute fastest 2 minutes of my life. Before I knew it, a burst of light appeared in the top right corner of the moon, and the sun began to peek out once again. We all froze and looked at each other seeking verification that the eclipse REALLY just happened.
For the next hour or so, the moon continued on its journey between the Earth and the sun.
We all continued to click pictures and wanting these amazing moments to continue forever! ***Sigh….. We know we will all have to wait until April 8, 2024 to see the next solar eclipse. In 2024, the path of totality will be traveling from Texas to western New York. However, I have a feeling I might find myself in another section of the country that has been carefully researched and statistically might have dryer weather! 🙂 Until then universe…….
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