Went to see it at my brother's in Oregon. All the web sites said you have to actually see it in totality: 99% is not enough. Boy were they right! It is the most spectacular sight I have ever seen, with such incredible contrast. The stars and planets were visible. But the ring... I saw the shadow cover first the mountain furthest, then a closer one. Then I heard the people a quarter mile away shouting. Sure enough, there it was. Very emotional sight. I wish it could have lasted longer. Can't wait to see the next one.
I totally agree to this, and still remember the eclipse in 1999. We went to a small lake outside Munich that day, away from the city. The thing that most impressed me were the birds suddenly stopping to sing. And the drop in temperature.
Great that you were able to see this one! For me there was unfortunately too much rock in between ...
But I also vividly remember the eclipse of 1999. I did not get to hear the birds stop singing, since I observed the eclipse from the crossroad down my office, about a quarter-mile away from the Eiffel Tower in downtown Paris, so not so many birds around (except pigeons, but they don't sing that much). But I noticed all of my colleagues (and myself) stopped working for about 90 minutes, if I remember the timing right. ;-)
I was at Lake Hartwell on the Georgia/South Carolina border. The guy in the cabin next to the one we rented (who lives there full-time) chose to light his trash fire 15 minutes before totality. I am not making this up. The deck we were on, watching the crescent-shaped flashes of sunlight between the leaves, became enveloped in a noxious cloud of smoke as the guy burned his plastic bottles along with his empty beer cases.
We walked about 30 yards away and enjoyed totality in solitude. Despite knowing exactly what to expect, it took me by surprise. I was awed, teary-eyed, and found it a little disturbing. My wife, who is more in tune with the cosmos than I, said she found it very disturbing, like things were mixed up. I have read that some indigenous Americans say the same thing: that it's not really a benign event.
It was over way too soon. But the birds who had begun their morningsong kept it up for the usual 90 minutes or so, as if it were a real dawn.
We waited until the next day but still became stuck in the traffic Eclipsocalypse. Interstate 81 is only two lanes each direction so every fender-bender turned into a massive delay. It took us 15hrs instead of 8hrs to get to our destination.
We'll be under the next one.
The way forward always starts with a minimal test.
Also noted: idiots in boats on one of the TVA lakes who chose to celebrate totality by setting off a barage of fireworks -- roman candles and larger ones -- while positioned between large groups of observers to the north and the sun, not far from overhead but also southward. That must have destroyed totality for the aforementioned eclipse-chasers.
Luckily, we were on the south shore... and were able to observe undisturbed.
And now, on to 2024... where totality hits northern NE and NY; many miles closer to home, albeit with sketchy weather prospects.
EDIT: Mostly reordered words to turn para 1 into intelligible english, )-:
Real astronomers go to eclipses to watch the clouds.
I drove (well the wife & I drove) 10 hours from the Twin Cities to Lusk Wyoming, arrived 10 minutes prior to totality caught the whole thing, took pictures and left. One of the highlights of my life. I feel sorry for all the Java programmers cowering in fear as the sun was blotted out auguring the downfall of Microsquish.
During the eclipse, i was very relaxed. Watched a few cloud-free livestreams of the event on my multi-monitor setup from home in Austria/Europe. While everyone on North America was freaking out about the weather and then spent the next 15 hours on gridlocked roads, trying to get home.
I've seen the one in 1999, though. That was great. But given modern technology, nowadays i have access to livestreams all over the world, from the ground up to some weather balloons, the international space station and even some satellite in lagrange point on the other side of the moon... why exactly would i want to fly halfway around the planet, drive half a day in a car, watch for a few minutes through dark glasses and then travel all the way back? All those cameras and measuring equipment provide me with a better, more in-depth experience than standing on a rain-soaked field with clouds in the way.
I don't want to sound negative, that is certainly not my intention. But for me personally, unless a solar eclipse comes near my location (which it wont during my lifetime, it looks like), i'll probably choose to experience all future ones through the eyes, telescopes and sensors of other people.
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