The Eclipse


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The eclipse approaching totality

Just arrived at Glacier, where the internet access is bad, and there is no cell service. Thus, this might be my last post for the week. I will try to post in the evening, but this is a vacation, so it will not be my first priority. If I could do it in my room that would okay, but I have to go down to the lobby of the Lake McDonald Lodge.

Anyway the image to the right was taken by me by holding my hand filter out at arm’s length, blocking the sun, and snapping a picture with my camera. It came out far better than I expected, as you can actually see the sun in the filter, partly blocked.

Totality was amazing. I was amazed by two things. First, how quiet it became. There were about hundred people scattered about the hotel lawn, with dogs and kids playing around. The hotel manager’s husband set up speakers for music and to make announcements, but when totality arrived he played nothing. People stopped talking. A hush fell over everything. Moreover, I think we somehow imagine a subconscious roar from the full sun. Covered as it was, with its soft corona gleaming gently around it, it suddenly seemed still.

Secondly, the amazing unlikeliness of the Moon being at just the right distance and size to periodically cause this event seemed almost miraculous. Watching it happen drove this point home to me. And since eclipses themselves have been a critical event in the intellectual development of humanity, helping to drive learning and our understanding of the universe, it truly makes me wonder at the majesty of it. I do not believe in any particular religion or their rituals (though I consider the Bible, the Old Testament especially, to be a very good manual for creating a good life and society), but I do not deny the existence of a higher power. Something made this place, and set it up in this wonderous way. Today’s eclipse only served to demonstrate this fact to me again.

Posting will be light for the rest of the week. If I get a chance I will add some more pictures to this post tomorrow.

Updated with two images. The first shows the mobs of panic-stricken Americans, trapped in Idaho Falls with no food or water because — as predicted by many mainstream media sources — so many people arrived there that it was impossible to keep them from dying. If you look close, you can see many already blind because they had stared at the Sun nonchalantly when the eclipse started.

The second picture is a magnificent shot taken by Diane by hand during totality, using her simple snapshot digital camera. She captured the corona, as well as the quiet essence of the moment.
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Eclipse watchers at the La Quinta in Idaho Falls
The Eclipse at totality

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17 comments

  • Joe

    Made a box viewer, works well enough, then went to work and viewed the partial eclipse that Michiganders were able to see with a welding helmet, worked rather well!, would have loved to seen totality, but that was not in the cards, the majesty of it all indeed!

  • Michael Miller

    Post no more til vacation is over.

    Relax.

    Enjoy.

  • Joe From Houston

    Well said, Bob. Very engaging content, especially for those who witnessed it, like me.

    I was around a big gang of out-of-towners at a resort pool area in Nashville and had a similar experience. The difference I noticed was some kid screamed in terror when the eclipse went to totality. I am sure his/her parent came to the rescue and explained it away like most parents do.

    This amazing, miraculous, majestic experience can easily be construed as the opposite reaction. It is one of the most impactful human experiences to one’s belief system that exists. It probably ranks right up there with getting struck by lightning, hahaha!

  • TommyK

    My brother-in-law and I traveled from Northern California about 9 hours and went to a remote area in eastern Oregon near the small town of John Day. The sky at about 5200 feet was crystal clear. Seeing the eclipse begin on time was great. For a brief moment I thought what if this didn’t happen as it was predicted …the implications… but it did. The sliver of the sun remaining and then, as if a switch was flipped, the moon is a black spherical void surrounded by the fine corona. The air noticibly cooled (no radiant heat from the disappearing sun), the sky was black, the stars came out plus Venus?, and the horizon was still illuminated in partial sunlight. People in other camps nearby cheered at the moment totality began. Isn’t God’s nature grand. Another observation: The people of eastern Oregon did an outstanding job of preparing for this event. Hat tip to Oregon!

  • eddie willers

    I had been ready for a long time but I didn’t think of such increased traffic.

    I live only about 40 miles from the edge of totality and gave myself “plenty” of time to get to the center. But a broken down truck contributed to problem and I found myself still twenty miles short of the edge of totality. I had to make a decision, turn around so I wasn’t on the road at 2:37 or drive like a bat out of hell. I drove like a bat out of hell. Had there been a single second of re-occurring slow traffic, my view of the eclipse would have been from my rearview mirror.

    At 95 mph I screamed my little Honda as fast as it could go. (LEO and State Troopers were off the road to get a glimpse as well) I made it to the Lavonia, Georgia exit. Had the green light at the top of the ramp, whipped right and straight into a Taco Bell parking lot. Jumped out of my car, slipped on the eclipse glasses and saw the slimiest sliver remaining. I had MADE it with about a minute to spare!

    Glorious. And if I had a bucket list, I could cross one off.

  • Patrick Kelley

    I was in Makanda Il. Saw two contrails chasing it. No sonic booms so it was a loosing race.

  • Max

    I traveled a uneventful 4 hours from Utah to near grand Teton Park. I waved at Zimmerman as I passed his hotel at six in the morning.
    We missed the turn off to relay station on a ridge of mountains, but found a treeless hilltop that worked just as well. The 75° hot sunlight slowly turned to a chilly 50° dusk as the sun slipped into totality. Awesome!
    I tried to get everyone to quit yelling to see if the crickets and birds had stop singing, but the planes overhead filled the air with so much noise that everyone went back to cheering. One private jet turned a very sharp 180° and followed the moon back towards the Teton mountains. Then it was over, and the real carnival began as we journeyed home.
    Google maps had a warning that there was an hour delay on I 15 out of Richmond Idaho, so we took the scenic route through Jackson hole along the snake river to return to Utah. (some of the most beautiful scenery in the world)
    Big mistake as it was bumper-to-bumper with motorhomes with the same idea. We cut back through Idaho at freedom Wyoming, past soda Springs and lava Hot Springs to jump back on I 15 south to more bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to Salt Lake City. All in total, a nine hour return trip… But worth it!

  • eddie willers

    through Jackson hole along the snake river to return to Utah. (some of the most beautiful scenery in the world)

    Sure beats my 44 miles of flat industrial concrete Interstate Highway. But the sky was the same!

  • I live on the edge of totality, so drove the 60 miles to Salem Sunday night and camped in the back of the wagon.

    Monday was a picture-perfect western Oregon Summer day. The trees provided an impromptu filter as the sun dapples on the ground clearly showed the Moon crossing the Sun.

    As totality approached the quality of the light changed, like looking through a polarizing filter. I was surprised at how rapidly the light faded in the three minutes prior to totality. During totality it was about as dark as late dusk, and the streetlights came on. Lots of cheering and yelling as well as firecrackers. The firecrackers worked, as the dragon left.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was impressed with how well details and motion in the corona could be seen.

    Left immediately after totality. I wasn’t too concerned about traffic: I was taking one of the most scenic drives Oregon back roads have to offer. This worked well until the middle of the Yamhill valley where several state roads intersect: an hour to cover that three miles, but only two hours total to get home.

    So an enjoyable drive through the mountains and valleys of western Oregon following what is arguably Nature’s premier event. God’s Creation is truly sublime.

  • wayne

    Great Adventure stories!

    I’m on the SW Michigan shoreline, but the video below is essentially the view I had. (Roughly 85% totality.)
    Intermittent clouds which serendipitously allowed you look at the Sun without glasses.

    Eclipse 2017 Grand Rapids, Mi.
    https://youtu.be/zX04Jk3QP4c
    (0:23)

  • Just posted two images from the eclipse event. We had some traffic issues leaving Idaho Falls, but that was mostly because a lot of people where trying to head south and clogging access to the interstate, when we wanted to go north. Once past that, things went well except for construction delays that would have happened I think no matter what.

    Posting once again will be light. I might have a chance tomorrow night, but don’t count on it. We will be doing the most popular hike here, the Highline trail, which is long and will take most of the day.

  • Max

    The never ending traffic jam :
    Eclipse traffic clogs I-15 in northern Utah for more than 24 hours
    https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45520175

    As a sidenote, the Bundys were acquitted yesterday
    Jury refuses to convict 4 in Nevada ranch standoff retrial
    https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45510596

  • Frank

    I suspect we shall neither read nor hear the word totality again for 7 years.

  • mpthompson

    Secondly, the amazing unlikeliness of the Moon being at just the right distance and size to periodically cause this event seemed almost miraculous.

    I’m not a religious person by any measure, but it does make you think. What are the chances? I read a comment somewhere else where a person described it as “God winking at us.”

  • wodun

    Earth itself and human history is quite the series of coincidences. Putting them all together is really astounding.

    Many of us long to have humans live in space, and they will, but those space faring humans will know that Earth is the Garden of Eden. Many will want to return but be unable to, some for cost, time, or technical reasons but also many because their bodies wont allow them.

  • Max: Just want to let you know that I had to delete your email with the large eclipse image, before reading it. I do not have good internet access here in Glacier, and that big file was preventing me from reading my other emails.

  • Max

    Thanks, I’ll resend it to you after your vacation. A beautiful picture of the diamond ring from the top of the Tetons taken by a friend of a friend with the proper equipment.

    As another sidenote, the federal government has decided to retry the Bundys for a third time. No one was hurt at the standoff as 200 armed agents and snipers point their guns at the handful farmers/ranchers. The jury saw through the governments kangaroo trial refusing to convict on selected limited evidence and almost no defense was allowed. Most of the defendants have been in prison continuously for the past three years. One of them was placed there simply because he had the last name of Bundy.

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