The Essential Guide to Astronomy
Solar Eclipse 2017
August 23, 2017
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Third contact, as seen in Rexburg, Idaho.
August 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm
Early Total Solar Eclipse Report from Cleveland, Tennessee
Lynne and I just got back from seeing Totality from Cleveland, Tennessee. Wow. A photograph will
never capture such awesome splendid beauty ! Cleveland was near the southern edge of totality,
which afforded only about a minute of totality, BUT this allowed a great view of the ruby red colored
Chromosphere to be seen very well; in great detail, showing the ten or more prominences that were visible. The brighter part of the Chromosphere that was visible was seen in the lower "50% of the southern limb of the Sun just after totality started, which moved to the right as totality progressed, ending in the lower right limb by the end to totality. It was ruby red to both the naked eye and with 10x50 binoculars, but only the binoculars showed the many prominences, one of which dominated the end of totality and looked very much like a clawed hand. The Corona was also very awesome and shadow bands were seen for about 8 seconds just before totality. This was my 4th Total Solar Eclipse. They were all cool and all unique, 1991, 1994, 1997,
and now 2017. Come on 2024!
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August 22, 2017 at 9:24 pm
Did I photograph a comet during totality? It is at about 9 o'clock two Son diameters away in this photo on my church website? Or was this an artifact on my camera lens?
August 23, 2017 at 9:22 am
hey, Pastor Bob... that fuzzy little spec off to the left is the star Regulus, which was indeed about two solar diameters to the Sun's east.
August 23, 2017 at 4:13 pm
Thanks for the clarification. I was pretty certain I hadn't detected a comet, even if it looked like one from my very basic camera work.
August 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm
From near Cerulean, KY
Impressions of the eclipse: I can barely remember any one specific part or the sun's appearance at a given point. I do remember around mid totality looking intently at the sun/corona to burn in the memory. What I found was that I was looking everywhere instead of just the sun and couldn't help myself. The horizons, the ground in front of me, the appearance of the sky, it was all so remarkably different from any form of lighting I had ever seen. I remember looking back to the NW for the end of the shadow. I couldn't see it but I could see a towering cumulonimbus in full sunlight. What I will remember is the profound impact of the ambiance. I'll have the images I took to remind me of what I saw but I don't think I will need help remembering the emotional aura of something this rare.
August 23, 2017 at 5:20 pm
An Infinity of THANKS to Kelly Beatty, the Sky & Telescope staff who selected Hopkinsville, InsightCruises, and Hopkinsville Community College for an awesome experience. The pre-eclipse events were wonderful and of course Eclipse Day was out of this world!!!! We are so happy that we chose this tour.
August 25, 2017 at 12:22 pm
Awesome! Totally awesome. We arrived at our site on the centerline West of Fairmont, NE about half an hour before first contact. The sky was mostly cloudy, but cleared shortly after the eclipse started, and remained clear throughout the event. Our group of 8 spanned six decades in age, and all but one of us were experiencing our first totality. We watched raptly as the moon slowly obscured the solar disk and the light faded around us. Behind us, we turned and watched darkness swiftly approach across a seemingly endless corn field. Totality arrived with stunning swiftness to gasps of amazement from everybody around us. While atmospheric haze prevented us from seeing any stars or planets, the sight of the corona will remain with each of us forever. Numerous prominences were apparent during the 2 minutes and 30-odd seconds of totality. Third contact announced itself with a brilliant diamond ring bursting into view. It was an experience that each of us will always remember. We are already planning for April of 2024.
August 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm
About 13 miles east of Shoshoni WY, an international crowd from Australia, Denmark, Czech republic, 74 yo Larry from Hawaii who'd never seen a total, 23 yo Ehren who drove for 20 hours from St Paul, a guy from Florida and relative locals from across the Colorado border only a 4 hour drive away. A few wispy cirrus clouds added to the 360 degree sunset colours. Pearly coronal streamers of 5 solar radii and 140 seconds of bliss. Diamond rings at 1st and 3rd and only a small temp drop from 73 down to 67. Celebrated with a stubby of Moose Drool beer. LOL............ Glenn
August 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm
After enduring endless heat while visiting family in San Antonio, this northern dweller headed to Union, Mo to enjoy totality with my wife and at the centerline home of an Air Force training buddy who we hadn't seen in 40 years. The previous day we pre-flighted all of our equipment, but the official forecast was quite iffy for eclipse day. The day dawned mostly clear, with only thin wispy cirrus to threaten us. My buddy and I worked in the heat and humidity to set things up again, moving a large backyard umbrella into position for relief from the sweaty conditions. At eclipse time, thunderheads began to grow far to the south while it remained virtually totally clear overhead for us. This was my second clear sky viewing of a total eclipse (the first way back in 1970, I was clouded out in Cap Chat, Quebec in 1972). I had a white sheet set up for shadow bands that we never saw. My buddy's old 6" Criterion tracked while projecting the solar image for all of us to monitor. I had a 4" refractor set up with filter to visually track. I wish I had attached my camera, but I heeded the advice instead to simply enjoy the spectacle without fussing with extraneous equipment. When the Eclipse Timer announced "glasses off", Through binoculars we all enjoyed what from all appearances was most simply described as the "black hole in the sky". I breifly looked through the refractor, but immediately went back to taking in the whole sky spectacle. I was most taken by the colors, the faint blueness of the sky, the orange horizon, the prominences along the solar circumference, and the blazing white corona surrounding the starkly black hole with Regulus nearby and a littel farther away, Venus shining brightly as it usually does. Funny how we were all so excited after 1st contact, but after totality ended, we did not bother to view the ending phase, taking equipment down and packing up instead while smiling about what we had just witnessed.
August 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm
I drove down to Portland, Oregon from Vancouver, Canada to see the eclipse. I got 'clouded out' the last time I traveled to see an eclipse 18 years ago (I went all the way to Cornwall, England in '99) so I was really anxious about getting good weather in Oregon.
Thankfully Mother Nature was incredibly kind this time around: she blessed everyone in Oregon with fabulous weather! I drove down to The Oregon Garden in Silverton on eclipse day. It was a beautiful venue for an eclipse party. Traffic wasn't too bad to and from Silverton (it was much worse in and out of Salem).
The eclipse was astonishing! Words can't describe it - and pictures (and even a telescope or binoculars) don't do it justice. This is a naked eye experience in its entirety. I felt like I was floating through outer space and looking at a celestial object out there somewhere - not staring at our sun from Earth!
You can see how people can become addicted to viewing total eclipses. It's a once in a lifetime view!
August 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm
Manning, South Carolina is a friendly town. Classes were cancelled for the day so everyone could enjoy the eclipse and City Hall opened up the local high school for hundreds of visitors and allowed them to set up shop and watch the eclipse (that didn't stop many others from camping out on the lawn in front of the local Wal-Mart to watch the eclipse there). The high school band boosters set up tents on the football field so people had a shady spot and also saw an opportunity to make some money by selling water and food, which was appreciated by all.
it was a very humid morning and lots of clouds passed overhead, but by noon they had thinned out considerably and from first contact through totality the sky was essentially clear. The crowds let out an audible 'Oooh' when totality occurred, accompanied by applause and cheering - although the real geeks and nerds (like me) were busy at their cameras taking as many pictures as they could! The sun at totality was absolutely gorgeous, set in the deep blue sky and surrounded by a multi-streamered corona. Totality lasted for 2 minutes and 17 seconds in Manning according to the clocks, but subjectively it was over in a flash.
I plan on being retired and free to do a much better job of photographing the 2024 eclipse and surroundings!
August 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm
We watched the eclipse from Sweetwater, Tennessee. (Nice job, Sweetwater!) An hour before first contact, the sky was about 40% covered with cumulus clouds. As the partial eclipse began, the clouds began to evaporate and where all gone at least a half hour before totality. 40 to 50 minutes before totality, a noticeable breeze began to pick up from the west and the temperature began to drop. I would estimate the total temperature drop to have been around 15 degrees, from near 90 to the mid 70s. As second contact approached, the entire area took on an eerie twilight coloration and the noise of the crowd (we shared the eclipse with around 5,000 other people) became muted. Being my first total eclipse, I missed the Bailey’s beads and diamond ring at the beginning, but the 2′ 37″ of totality were spectacular. Cheering all around. I could only see Venus and Jupiter. I suspect that there was just enough haze to wash out the other planets and stars. Third contact brought a beautiful diamond ring and, I think, Bailey’s beads, although I’m not sure that is what I saw.
The only downer: the trip back to our hotel in Knoxville that took 40 minutes at 5:30 AM took 3:20 minutes at 3:00 PM.
As I live in Cleveland, Ohio, I look forward to seeing many of you in April, 2024, for the next Great North American eclipse.
August 26, 2017 at 10:50 pm
We had planned to go to St Joseph, MO but indications were that St Joseph would be cloudy at the time of totality. I decided to drive east along the I70 to Boonville 86 miles away. The sky cleared gradually on the journey to rising spirits. As the eclipse progressed the sky was gradually getting more hazy and with a half hour to go cumulus clouds were appearing. The situation worsened as totality approached, at 10 minutes to go it looked bad with a thunderhead over the sun, at 5 minutes there was rain! Amazingly with 2 minutes to go the clouds cleared and the Sun appeared in a clearer sky than before as we watched the slowly decreasing crescent. At totality the view through my 4" reflector was stunning, with a large prominence visible and great detail in the corona. Well worth the drive and a most memorable day.
Rob, Angela & Helen
August 26, 2017 at 11:24 pm
My wife and I travelled all the way from Rome, Italy, to Baker City, Oregon, to see and film the eclipse.
We selected Baker City after having carefully read Fred Espenaks's book on the weather statistics along the path of totality. The skies were absolutely blue, the air crispy and the temperature balmy (Baker City is 3,100 feet high). We have never been strong believers in the "magic" of a total eclipse of the sun, but this experience has converted us. Despite being very fond of astrophotography, we followed Fred Espenak's advice and decided to observe the eclipse with our own eyes rather than fumbling with cameras and scopes while trying to photograph it. Wise decision, because we are now able to recall every single moment of those 95 seconds of totality. But we didn't give up photography entirely: We let a camera with a 500mm catadioptric lens mounted on a small astrotracker film the event while we enjoyed it visually. Here is the link to the video:
That's all regarding the eclipse. But it is realy worth mentioning how great was for us to discover North Eastern Oregon. The friendliness of the people of Baker County, the sheer beauty of those mountains, the majestic flowing of the Snake river, are all fantistic aspects of a region that has a lot of character and presents the visitor with unique aspects of the country. Wow! What a trip!
Giulio and Claude Pecora
August 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm
We got to experience totality from Lime, Oregon which is an abandoned town off of what I would call the centerline exit of I-84. It was entertaining to watch what I would call a squatters town of RVs, tents, and car campers form over the 24 hours leading up to the eclipse. The local sheriff's office was very professional and patient as they kept everyone out of an abandoned cement factory at the location for the sake of safety.
The one thing that I hadn't seen mentioned before was that we were able to spot Capella ~ 15 minutes prior to totality. In fact I mistook it for Venus at first it was so obvious. I think the reason others may not have seen it farther east aside from sky conditions was because at our location the sun was a little lower and Capella was well placed very close to the zenith.
3rd contact was punctuated by a fly over from a 4 engine jet aircraft that came so close to the eclipsed sun that its contrail was lit up by the appearance of the diamond ring exactly as it passed the sun. The thundering sound of its engines made it a sort of fireworks finale to complement the end of totality!