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Old August 22nd, 2017, 10:51 AM
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Total Eclipse 2017

I've been AWOL from this site for quite a while, but I wanted to return to see if anyone had shared their experience. I'll get the ball rolling by sharing an email I sent a friend of mine:


I didnít get much sleep last night due to excitement and worry about where I was going to travel to watch the eclipse. I was going to drive about 2 hours away, but I woke up early and was ready to leave. Since I left so early, I decided to scout some potential areas along the way.


The first place I decided to check out was Long Hunter State Park, which is along Percy Priest Lake. The lake is formed by a dam farther north of where the park is. In fact, if the park was closed due to crowds, I was going to next travel there to see if the parking area next to the dam was available. Failing that, I would travel east.


Thankfully, the park wasnít closed. I arrived almost at 9:00 am, which was 3 hours before the partial eclipse began. The park rangers and other volunteers were well prepared and had an area marked for parking and viewing, and they had people who would guide you along the way to your final parking space.


At first, I wasnít certain if this wasn't going to become very crowded as the eclipse got closer, but I didn't want to turn around and drive to the next area. After all, the more time I spent travelling, the more likely that I might get completely stranded without anywhere to go. So I parked my car, and me and my parents grabbed some ice cold bottled water we took with us and headed to a nearby field to find a space to sit and wait. My parents had portable chairs, while I sat on a tarp that I lay on the ground. You saw the first picture I posted showing that the field wasnít crowded at all. More people began arriving throughout the day, but it never filled to the point where each group didnít have plenty of open space around them. Watching the local newscast this evening, we were lucky, as other places had crowds of people sitting next to each other without any open room. I wonder if the park rangers were directing some of the people to other parts of the park.


One criteria I wanted for a viewing location was finding a place which had available restrooms. The park had several portable toilets around the park, and they were really clean. We brought lunch to eat, since I wanted to be prepared in case we found ourselves in an area such as this that didnít have a nearby restaurant (or if driving off would risk somebody taking my parking space). The food wasn't fancy, by any means, but it was quick to unpack and eat.


The sky was clear when we arrived, which was really encouraging. As the partial eclipse neared, I noticed an ominous bunch of very thick clouds approaching. Another concern I had was the heat, because it was supposed to be very hot. I remember how hot it was when I walked at Bowie yesterday, so I knew this could be miserable. We sat in the shade of a large tree, and we enjoyed a periodic cool breeze. It wouldn't be until after noon time when it would become hot enough to be uncomfortable, but we were pleasantly distracted by the events.


Once the partial eclipse phase began an hour and a half before totality, I started checking out the sun with the special pair of eclipse glasses my dad ordered for us a week earlier. It turns out that there were people at the park who passed out eclipse glasses to anyone who didnít have a pair, so that was nice. The park was really prepared for this event. I first noticed the eclipse as a very slight bump in the corner of the sun. I refrained from staring for longer than a few seconds each time, but I made frequent checks to see how the eclipse progressed. More and more of the moon passed in front of the sun, leaving the sun appearing as a crescent shape. The crescent shape got slimmer and slimmer, and thenÖ another cloud! A thick cloud was heading towards the sun with only a couple of minutes to the total eclipse, and it was going to block the entire event!


While this was happening, the daylight began to dim a bit around 30 minutes prior to totality. This wasnít due to the cloud. Around 5 minutes before, the dimming was very noticeable, and I eyed the evil cloud nervously. As the cloud finally approached the sun to deny all of us the chance to view it during totality, it dissipated completely! Another group of clouds were approaching, but were too far away to threaten our view.


With only scant minutes before the big event, I began viewing the eclipse through my glasses without looking away. The crescent sun got thinner and thinner, then only a dot of light remained, and then I couldn't see anything as the people around me began cheering. It was time to take off my glasses.


WOW! It was now dark, but it's not the type of darkness you get during night time. Instead of the sky being black, it was actually a very unique shade of light blue. Due to other clouds, I only noticed one other star in the sky. As for the eclipse, it was absolutely nothing like what I've seen in pictures. You had the black disk of the moon in front of the sun, and the sunlight around the moon was brilliant and bright, but not bright in a way that hurts your eyes. What was more stunning and doesnít show up in most of the photos I've seen are the wisps of light extending away from the sun in all directions. This was amazing. During this time, I was also handling my camera to record a video while handling my smart phone to take that picture I posted on Facebook. But I kept my major focus on the eclipse above me as the moon was slowly shifting along its path. I could hear insects in the trees behind me chattering pretty loudly, as they must have thought it was nighttime. After about 2 minutes, a bright spot appeared, and I knew it was time to put my glasses back on. I watched the crescent of the sun grow larger for a couple of minutes afterwards before we picked up our stuff and returned to the car.


The park volunteers were on hand to guide traffic out of the park and onto the roads. I ran into some heavy traffic when I arrived at Interstate 840, but the traffic wasn't at a standstill.


It was definitely worth it to make the trip, as I would not have witnessed what I did outside the region of totality, even with an estimated 99% partial where I live. With the luck in finding the park available, I only had to travel an hour instead of two.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 08:43 PM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

That's very cool that you got to experience that David. I got to see a little bit up here in Northwest Indiana, but it only got a little bit darker and a little bit cooler during that time. Pretty cool still.

I have a bunch of buddies that went down to Carbondale, IL to check it out at the epicenter or whatever. They said it was great, but the traffic out of there was nuts.

One of my buddies, Chris Annen is big into astronomy and solar astronomy as well. He's got a nice telescope setup with a camera. He took this series of pictures below, as he has a way of having elapse photos show up as one picture.



This is his telescope


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Old August 22nd, 2017, 09:20 PM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hahma View Post
That's very cool that you got to experience that David. I got to see a little bit up here in Northwest Indiana, but it only got a little bit darker and a little bit cooler during that time. Pretty cool still.

I have a bunch of buddies that went down to Carbondale, IL to check it out at the epicenter or whatever. They said it was great, but the traffic out of there was nuts.
At least you're near Gencon, though I can't imagine what it would do to my wallet if I was that close to the convention. Then again, I really hate large crowds, so that might be a deterrent. I still can't believe Long Hunter State Park wasn't filled to capacity. I think people were headed towards the areas with the longest duration around 2 min 40 sec. I didn't feel cheated at 2 min, because time seemed to stand still during that period.

I love that picture you posted. The picture I took was a blur, although the movie I took with my camera did show the darkening at ground level.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 09:32 PM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

I am only 2 hours from GenCon, but didn't go. I hate crowds. I've been down there a couple times and that was fine for me. I don't need to buy the newest game that comes out, as I can wait for it. I am not into the True Dungeon or other activities, nor am I into tournaments and such. The only thing I would be interested in would be to demo some games I was interested in.

I have several gaming buddies that went down there for the full 4 days, though they actually headed down there on Wednesday. They demoed games for game companies and got their badges and hotel stay paid for, as well as some other perks. My buddy Brian worked 24 hours, and had done that over several years. It's getting old in a way and less exciting.

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Old August 22nd, 2017, 10:49 PM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

I went out on my lunch break and watched it. It dropped the temperature a good 15 degrees where we are and screwed with our giant goldfish ovens for a minute. Didnt get to see the full one though. I would have had to have the day off and drive two hours north to ID falls. Theres still traffic backed up around there. I thought about going to gencon with sir heroscape and tiranx but I also hate large crowds and have backed most of the new games i want on kickstarter.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 11:30 PM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

I drove 30 minutes south of Saint Louis to see total eclipse. Our spot was only a few seconds less of totality than Carbondale. Traffic was fine on the way there and bad on the way back. But I heard it was still worse in Carbondale.

Totality was way better than any other astronomical event I'd seen before. Like the other ones are technically very cool to imagine what's happening in space, but as an experience are kind of plain. But totality is super cool just to experience.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 11:55 PM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

I live in Paducah so I reside in near perfect eclipse conditions. We all went outside while we were at work. The coolest part about it, (aside from the epic time lapse of going to darkness back to light in a matter of moments), was the patterns of light dancing across the asphalt. The best way to explain it is seeing how light shimmers across the surface of a swimming pool. Same thing here, but everywhere. Super subtle, but still amazing to behold.

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Old August 23rd, 2017, 02:00 AM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

I was way south of the path of the total eclipse, but I was off work. I never got the glasses, but I did get to see it through a pin hole lens. I had a bit of fun remembering that in 1979 as a 6 year old I also saw an eclipse through a pin hole lens only a handful of miles from where I saw it yesterday. I might have to see about being in Texas in a few years when the next one happens.
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Old August 24th, 2017, 01:20 AM
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Re: Total Eclipse 2017

I was sitting at home, doing a healthy mix of getting ready for college to start next week and wasting time, when I noticed it starting to get dark outside. All I did was think "Huh, I didn't know we had a storm rolling in," and kept on with what I was doing. Got on Facebook a couple hours later to see all the eclipse pictures going around and realized I missed it. Not that I was in total eclipse conditions, but I'm disappointed in myself nonetheless.

Even worse, that's the second solar eclipse I've missed. The other one, five years ago, was similar where I noticed it got dark but didn't think anything of it until a friend showed me all his eclipse pictures. Someday I'll get this whole eclipse thing down.

Last edited by BiggaBullfrog; August 24th, 2017 at 01:20 AM. Reason: Watched a lunar eclipse once, though. That was fun.
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