August 21, 2017 will be in my mind for years to come. I was fortunate to watch the eclipse from the heartland. The location was in the 70 mile stretch called the path of totality. Approximately 40 people were enjoying the 2017 solar eclipse from a private ranch with incredible views of the horizon in all directions.
Yet another piece of luck was the presence of Dr. Michael Dowling. A veteran eclipse watcher, this was his fifth total eclipse, Dr. Dowling was invaluable in sharing his knowledge. Many had never experienced any type of eclipse. For most this was the first time watching from the path of totality.
As shared in Awaiting the Eclipse of 2017, my previous experiences were limited to partial eclipses. I am so glad I made the trip to see the full eclipse because there is a huge difference. Now I understand why people go to great lengths to travel to the path of totality. I am looking forward to 2045 when the path leads over my house. The eclipse will last about 5 minutes that year, more than twice as long as yesterday.
Over the next few posts I will share pictures and movies of my experience. The final minutes leading up to the total eclipse are shown in the longest video posted below.The camera is a bit shaky because I was holding it behind my back while watching the sun with my glasses. The shadow that sweeps across the land just prior to the moon totally covering the sun comes from behind. You cannot look both for the shadow and watch the sun. I chose to watch the sun and hope the camera could pick up some of the shadow. I was pleased that the video was able to capture the event. The audio tells the story as well.
All were shot with a two year old cell phone camera. I definitely need to upgrade. However, I was able to capture much more of the event thanks to Dr. Dowling. He was great. In addition to bringing a shadowbox to view the moon covering the sun, he provided explanations of what was going to happen. At one point he had volunteers act as the sun, moon, and Earth in order to demonstrate the process. I think this was particularly helpful for the kids in the group.
The pictures to the left are of the solar scope. Due to Dr. Dowling and his explanations of the eclipse highlights, I had a tremendous first experience of a total eclipse.
My absolute favorite part is called the ring effect. I did not try to capture this instant on the film. I just wanted to enjoy the moment. Sometimes photos can’t quite capture the human experience. Bailey’s Beads and the diamond ring effect fall into this category for me.
I plan to share the social experience in a later post. I have two chances to repeat this experience without leaving the continent. The first is in 2024 which would involve driving to Dallas. The second is over 20 years later. I plan to watch both from the path of totality.
Where were you for the 2017 Solar Eclipse?