Friday, August 25, 2017

Total Darkness

Photo of the eclipse off my television
Like millions of others around our country, my oldest daughter and I loaded up the van and set forth south towards the path of totality on Monday. Fortunately for us, it was only a two and a half hour drive to the northern edge of the path of totality and living in rural America with two major cities on either side of the state attracting hordes, traffic was light in the middle part. Having factored that into our drive time, that meant we had a couple hours to kill before the start of the show.

Before we had left that morning, I had checked the forecast and it wasn't very good. At home where a 95% eclipse might be seen, it was threatening rain and clouded over and was forecasted to be that way until 45 minutes after the total eclipse. If we went south the the path of totality, it was clear and sunny but a storm was making its way with predicted arrival time of 15 minutes before the start of the total eclipse. To me it seemed like a hopeless situation either way and I warned my daughter that no matter what we decided, we probably weren't going to get a peek at the total eclipse. The weather forecasters were predicting the storm was slowing down meaning arrival and departure times might be later on so we opted to go south to the path of totality. Even if it was cloudy, we still would be able to experience total darkness in the middle of the day.

We stopped at a town on the northern edge of the path of totality to eat an early lunch and look at the latest weather forecast to see if we should head further into the path to increase our chances of a cloudless event. By chance, a friend of mine made contact and it turned out he was only a few blocks away at a house in town and his daughter was a friend of my daughter. So we decided to head over there for a bit and re-evaluate things. Long story shorter, the cloud cover was going to obscure the event for us no matter where we went and we really didn't have enough time to outrun it so we ended up just staying there.

We did get a view of the initial stages of the partial eclipse before the clouds blocked our view so it wasn't for not and we did get to experience 59 seconds of total darkness at 1:12 in the afternoon. It was enough to get all the crickets and frogs to make noise and make the hair on my arms stand up a bit. But all too soon it was over with and we were heading back north through rain. As it turned out, those back home had the clouds thin out enough that they were able to witness the peak of the eclipse (95%) and the back part of the partial eclipse. They also didn't get a drop of rain.

I did tape the eclipse on television so my daughter could still see what it might have looked like in other places. All if not lost however for on April 8, 2024, another total eclipse will pass near our cabin in Arkansas and up through Illinois so we will have another chance at seeing one in our lifetime.
My view of the eclipse about ten minutes before the total eclipse

9 comments:

sage said...

We were lucky--but I wish I had set the TV to record the eclipse for it was amazing and not nearly long enough. At least I'm glad to hear you got some rain and hopefully some of this rain coming into the gulf will make its way up to you. It really poured here last night.

Ed said...

Sage - I hope we get some rain too but not at the expense of those that live in the gulf. I hope it isn't as bad as they predict for them.

Ed said...

I should also mention that any rain is really too late for crops. The corn and soybeans are sunk for this year and rain won't change that. It will just set things up for next year at this point.

Susan said...

Since the next solar eclipse will occur when I'm safely retired (please, God), I am hopeful to actually experience it in person!

Kelly said...

I'm sorry you didn't get to see totality (OR get the rain you needed at home!). We had puffy clouds in and out but at the peak moment, we were able to view it. My paper said we had 86% eclipse.

April can be really iffy with the weather, but I'm hoping for good viewing in 2024, too. I'll be too close for that one not to make the effort for totality. I just looked on my 50-year calendar and it will fall on a Monday, as well!

Last I saw, everything is still up in the air as to what will happen after the hurricane makes landfall. They still have our rain chances pretty low for the first of the week.

Vince said...

Bummer. I thought you were pretty much under the pass. But it seems you were that bit north that Jeff was south.

Kelly said...

If you're really feeling optimistic, there's another coast to coast eclipse in 2045. I might even be in totality on that one...

Bob said...

I have not had a chance to post anything about it yet and probably won't for a while, but with a five-mile drive north, my wife and I got to witness the total eclipse -- 1 minute and 21 seconds -- and it will go down as one of the coolest experiences of my life. That's no exaggeration. More on that in a week or so.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Oh, I'm sorry that the clouds were a nuisance this go around. It sound like you and your daughter still had a fun experience hunting it down. While the totality thing would have been awesome, I think watching it cover is pretty neat too, so at least you got that part. We only had about 60 percent here, but I thought it was fantastic. We're back to school so took the kids out a few times and watched the totality on live feed - instant science lesson! :) I'm looking forward to the next one.