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Your Great American Eclipse Story

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#1 mfoose

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 02:25 PM

I invite each of you to tell your eclipse story. Write about everything! Planning, traveling, viewing, anything and everything you want to share.

I will be writing mine out today. Safe travels and clear skies!
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#2 Spockk

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 02:30 PM

Mission success out here in around Rigby Idaho. Was going to stay with family but we ended up camping in the local park.
I brought my 12 inch skywatcher and got it ready 20 minutes early.
The view of the eclipse through the 12 inch was mind blowing around 75x.
Safe travels to all
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#3 ninelives

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 03:14 PM

Mission success out here in around Rigby Idaho. Was going to stay with family but we ended up camping in the local park.
I brought my 12 inch skywatcher and got it ready 20 minutes early.
The view of the eclipse through the 12 inch was mind blowing around 75x.
Safe travels to all

Watched with the family from our front yard in Rigby. I trust you were part of all the yelling I heard during totality? lol.gif Dogs were going crazy barking, birds freaking out. Don't know if you saw the fantastic shadow ripples, but they sure showed up nicely on the road in front of the house. Corona showed up great in my binoculars, beautiful sight. Really can't do justice to it with words. Great experience! 


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#4 MathewM

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 03:15 PM

Viewed from my backyard in Wentzville, MO.  Was able to view totality for 1.13 with my two boys and grandparents.  It was glorious.  

 

IMG 2517
IMG 2588
Frame 21 08 2017 02 06 11

Edited by MathewM, 21 August 2017 - 03:35 PM.

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#5 selectedpixels

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 03:23 PM

Incredible.  Went to my Plan A sight on Saturday in SC and it just didn't work for me.  Got back in the van and drove 3 hours to Plan B, here in Tiger, GA.

 

Perfect site.  Half full campground (they didn't advertise).  Set up.  Tested everything again yesterday while watching the weather forecast get steadily worse.

 

Got up this morning, made final adjustments and waited.  Lots of interested campers coming to see my setup.  It was fun.

 

My SEM script worked almost flawlessly.  Think I missed some images during partials for strange reason.  The clouds stayed away until about 10 minutes after totality.

 

BUT IT WAS SO INCREDIBLE.  The lighting, the prominences.  The corona.  (and the Corona afterward too).   The crowd was great, so in awe of the event.

 

2024 can't come quick enough!


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#6 R Botero

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 03:45 PM

My family and I drove all the way from
Orlando to the fine town of Saint Matthews in SC. Forecast and weather on the way up were not great but just before first contact the skies cleared and we enjoyed clear blue during totality and thereafter. cool.gif The eclipse itself was incredible! The 2:35 it lasted! We enjoyed the ring of fire, a great prom just before it formed in vivid red and then the most splendid corona with two streamers on the leading side and large one on the following. waytogo.gif Venus was brilliant to the West and Regulus was clearly visible during totality.
Traffic was easy on the way up; not so good now driving back but we are so pleased we came! My parents flew in from South America and me and my brothers and our families from England and Italy. Just great!
Roberto


Edited by R Botero, 21 August 2017 - 10:04 PM.

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#7 jcruse64

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:14 PM

My story is WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

We live just outside Paducah, KY, and our weather and cloud forecast was better than at the parents in Massac County, IL, so all our parents and siblings, etc came to our house, ate, and observed. We were blessed with clear skies, and everyone got to see it. I used my Nikon bins with a RS glass filter, and my brother had a Celestron solar scope package and solar binocular package, so everyone got an up-close look whenever they wanted. My iKoolaid and my Samsung tablet did less than desired on picture taking, but my brother got some great shots, especially at totality. I did take a quick video, once totality hit, of all around us, that turned out well. My brother and I observed pretty much full-on for the duration. I thought it was great to see as much sun spot activity as we did.

 

Really impressive! I cannot describe the look of it at totality, just awesome! Only disappointment of the whole shebang is that it was only for 2:18; would have like 10 minutes, but apparently, my request did not get processed, lol! I hope all of you were able to enjoy it.


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#8 Augustus

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:32 PM

I was just outside Andrews SC and managed to just barely avoid being clouded out. There was thunder and lightning off in the distance during totality, and immediately after totality it became overcast. There were thin clouds covering the Sun during most of the eclipse including totality, but we saw the corona and Venus. A rainbow formed around the Sun during totality! We were parked on the side of the road next to a self storage facility with nothing but eclipse glasses.

 

It was a lot of fun. Can't wait for 2024.


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#9 mfoose

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:51 PM

So glad to read so many amazing experiences!

 

WOW!!!!!!!!!! That is the best I can do!

 

My wife's grandparents live in Athens, TN so we decided to visit them and view the eclipse form their backyard. Unfortunately, we had a very sudden death in the family two Saturdays ago. Before we heard about the date of the funeral, my wife and I decided that no matter what day it was that we would go and be there for the family (my family lives just North of Philadelphia, PA). The funeral was Saturday and I led the service. Afterwards, we had a lunch and grieved with family then we hit the road South. Stopped in Southern Virginia and stayed the night with my wife's parents and then left early Sunday morning. Traffic was not too bad entering Tennessee. We decided to take non main roads before we go to Knoxville and we did not find any traffic on them. 

 

We got to view wife my wife's grandparents, aunt and uncle, and my wife's uncle's father (that is a lot to follow). We enjoyed some pork BBQ for lunch and then we went outside to view. It was exciting to see the eclipse begin. No clouds in the sky all morning or at eclipse start, but about halfway through I noticed some cumulus clouds forming to the North. About 30 minutes before totality started I noticed the sun was not as hot on the skin. Daylight also appeared to be dimmer, as if through a filter, and shadow through trees had the noticeable curve. With about 20 minutes before, I noticed the cumulus clouds that were building up started to diminish. With 10 minutes to go, I noticed a slight breeze from the West and temperature was about 5 degrees cooler. With less than 5 minutes before, cicadas started to make their sounds crickets chirped and other insects and animals did their nightly rituals. At this point, there were no clouds in the sky. I could not find a single one. I read about how eclipses diminished cloud development, but in a matter of 10-15 minutes, the sky went from 20%-30% cloudy with multiple cumulus clouds to clear.

 

Totality was AWESOME!!!!!!! With it being my first total eclipse, I did not want to be fiddling with a telescope. I will be sure to bring one on April 8, 2024, but I just wanted to watch this one naked eye. Bailey's beads and the diamond ring were fantastic! The corona... jaw dropping! It was 10 degrees or so colder. I watched street lights come on and birds flying back to their nests. I saw Regulus, Mars, Mercury, and Venus. The 360 sunset at horizon was so incredible. Like others have said, the worst part was that it was 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

 

It was an amazing time all around. I cannot believe how fast it all past bye. It still feels like it happened just 5 minutes ago and like it lasted for only a few seconds. My wife and I are hooked. Whenever it is financially viable for us to go to a total eclipse, we plan on going. Already looking forward to April 8, 2024 as I am sure you all are as well. 


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#10 mark77

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:49 PM

I drove my rv from northeast PA to Idaho.   This was our plan C.  Missouri was plan A, Nebraska was plan B.

We had perfect weather and we got great pictures.   We now have 40 hours drive home.  Won't be able to post any pictures unti I get home.

 

Mark


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#11 rainycityastro

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:54 PM

Hello friends!
Driving back after an amazing eclipse experience in Eastern Oregon. PERFECT conditions. Couldn't have asked for more!

The eclipse experience was surreal. Truly amazing, even spiritual I'd say.
Contrary to ALL advice, I imaged with 4 cameras and two telescopes, atop an AP900 mount. I am convinced that it is TERRIBLE advice to tell folks to not image during an eclipse. How are you going to remember any of it if it lasted just 2 mins? Also it may be the only total eclipse of your life.

Data looks great. Now it's time to process and make it shine!
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#12 sehs1969

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 08:24 PM

Wife and I drove to a friends 45 miles away. Payette Idaho.  

 

I set up my telescope and filter. Pleased to see there were seven sunspots!

 

There were a bunch of teenage girls, a 12yr old boy and two little boys aged 4 and 7. The kids had a wonderful time. All were very good kids!! I taught them a new word Syzygy!!. Look it up.

 

We did it all. Looked at the eclipse progress through totality. Via the scope. Via our dork glasses. Got a cardboard card from the back of a note pad. Shoved a fork tine through it and made a pinhole camera. The kids loved taking pictures of the eclipse shadow projected onto their T shirts.

 

Then something wonderful was noticed. Over on the driveway, there were eclipses projected all over the driveway by light filtering through a maple tree. Dozens of them in the shadow of the tree. They were all two to five inches in height. There were crescent arc's projected on the gable of the house.

 

Dozens of pictures were taken of people and families all wearing their dorky eclipse glasses. There are plans for a bunch of family pictures becoming Christmas cards. "MERRY ECLIPSMAS!" Wives can be very creative.

 

We were up on a hill and could look out over a valley. We were able to watch the shadow approach, then the skies start to darken, the street lights came on, and then totality. Glasses and telescopes became useless. All attention then was on the sun. First a diamond ring effect, the Bailey's beads, then 1min 41sec (our location) of the most beautiful wide coronal pattern 2X or 4X the size of the sun/eclipse disc. Finally, another diamond ring appeared and all the sudden it was intensely bright. Totality over.

 

The news media hyperventilation of crowds and traffic jams were completely overblown. (Surprise, surprise) There was heavy traffic and slowdowns on the way home, but they were minor, and everyone here were most patient and respectful.

 

Not a cloud in the sky. Hardly any smoke from the numerous range fires. 83 degrees. My wife drug her feet and didn't want to go. Now she is very pleased.

 

All in all, a great day.


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#13 MarioJumanji

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 08:54 PM

Took the family up to Jefferson City, Mo. We stayed in a motel the night before near there so we wouldn't have to rush out early and we could make a final decision about where to go since the forecast was a little iffy. There were several locations dedicated to viewing the eclipse, and we ended up at some kind of carnival that was set up on the north side of the river right off the highway. Clouds were high and thin mostly, and as the totality drew near it became apparent that it was going to be a good show. I can't forget that moment when I watched the last crescent of sun dissappear through my eclipse shades and I took them off to see the beautiful total eclipse. I was awe struck! 10/10, would see again. The wife and kids were duly impressed as well, which is saying a lot. I'm looking forward to the next one.
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#14 sehs1969

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:10 PM

Eclipse crescents on driveway under maple tree. 10lb yapper dog for reference.  These were also projected on my friends house.

 

Payette Idaho.  90% totality, just a few minutes before totality. 

Attached Files


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#15 PXR-5

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:11 PM

Had a Great day also :) drove 50 miles to Lugoff SC, (pronounced Lou-goff) took back roads, No traffic ;) viewed in a small uncrowded park with clean restrooms.

Two minutes before totality there was the UGLIEST cloud next to the Sun, but it dissipated during totality :)
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#16 Unknownastron

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:11 PM

We followed our plan, and it all worked out fine.  Drove to as close to the totality zone the night before, then got up and checked weather.  Cloudy.  Checked satellite images and it looked bettef north.  We were in Kansas about 2 hours from centerline.  As we traveled the sky cleared and the sun came out.  We found a perfect spot at a cross roads in Miller. Nebraska.  One other eclipse chaser was already there and before long several others stopped.  The sky overhead was totally clear and blue.  I did not see shadow bands nor Bailey,s brand but great diamond rings at both 2nd and 3rd contacts. 

Just too short, about 2 minutes and 18 seconds.  This was our(wife and me) second total, we were spoiled in Baja in 1991 with over 6 minutes.

Further plans:. live 7 more years when totality crosses our home!

Clear skies and clean glass, 

Mike


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#17 vipergts2207

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:44 PM

The eclipse really was amazing. My fiancé kind of humors me when I ask her to come look through the telescope when observing at night. Doesn't think too much more of the hobby than perhaps being a bit neat. She was very impressed by this eclipse though and is almost as excited as I am for the one in 2024. I have a feeling the amateur astronomy market will grow a bit because of this eclipse.


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#18 Augustus

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:48 PM

I have a feeling the amateur astronomy market will grow a bit because of this eclipse.

I sure hope so.


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#19 overnight

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:07 PM

I was in Menan, Idaho, a small and nice town in Idaho, that was quite visibly excited for the eclipse. My family booked a place earlier, and after touring around Yellowstone N.P. arrived the morning of the 20th at their city park, and set up the tent and food, water, blankets and mattresses. The night before the eclipse, I set up my two telescopes that I brought, a SW Equinox 80 on an Advanced VX, and the 130SLT. There was supposed to be a 100 people, only 30, thankfully. It was very cloudy, but it started to clear. I setup the 130SLT for viewing, while I polar-aligned the AVX between clouds, almost forgetting that Polaris would be 10 degrees higher then it is at home. Quite a few kids wanted to see through my scopes, so I showed them Saturn in terrible seeing while their parents picked them up to see through it. Then I put shrouds on top of both mounts, while storing the OTA's safely inside the tent. Went to sleep, set alarm for 6:00 A.M, hoped tomorrow would be clear despite the forecast alternating between "Partly Cloudy" and "Sunny" all the time, When I woke up, nobody had stole my mounts, and the sky was clear. I set up the scopes with their filters all ready to go. There was a group from Spain that came to see the eclipse, as well, as two other people from Toussaint, Arizona and England with an ETX and DSLRs. All was ready to go, and I had my phone with Solar Eclipse Timer to count down to the start. I begin the partial phase sequence, while viewing through the 130SLT and helping other photographers with their setup. I showed some friendly people nearby the times so they could get ready for totality. Totality was incoming, and it was getting colder and darker, and the lighting was strange. I quickly setup the video camera to take a drift video. Two other families came to chat with us as totality was incoming. Then, the shadowbands struck, rippling across the grass and the tent itself, and I got my filters off, and totality came! I started the automated totality sequence, and looked at the eclipse and other surroundings. It was awe-inspiring and chilling, and I got to see through the 130SLT during totality, which was spectacular. The crowd cheered when it happened, commenting "Oh my gosh", and etc. Then, it was about to end, and one person remarked afterwards "Imagine what 1000 years ago people thought, 'I should have been nicer to mom!'" A couple of us viewers took pictures together, talked about the event and amateur astronomy while I completed the final partial phase sequence. Then it was time to leave, and dive into the traffic storm that ensued after the eclipse frown.gif

 

This was a spectacular event, that was awesome, except for the long long drive home.


Edited by overnight, 21 August 2017 - 10:08 PM.

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#20 Marcus Valdes

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:11 PM

I accidently posted this in a separate thread, but here it is:

 

I was going to watch the eclipse from home as they were saying it would be 96%. I read an article about 11:30 am talking about how these numbers were misleading as anything other than totality is pretty much a non-event. I scrambled and told everyone to get in the van. I loaded up my new giant binoculars (Fujinon 25x150's) as quickly as we could and started driving. I was back and forth between Google maps and the totality map trying to figure out the shortest distance with traffic and settled on somewhere near Cornelia, GA. I think we were towards the tail end of the eclipse traffic as it kept showing that we would not make it by the time it started, but we crossed into the totality zone with about 25 minutes to spare. I had a solar eclipse app which showed the duration and we kept driving north until we were about 15 minutes until totality and a 1:36 duration. We pulled into a Jehovah Witness parking lost in Demorest, GA and I got the binoculars set up. The mount and binoculars weigh in at over 100 pounds. I wound up with about 8 minutes to spare. It is hard to describe. The light changed in a way I've never experienced. It didn't get super dark with totality, but it was very eerie. I'm not completely sure if it went silent, but I do remember hearing a bird start chirping just as totality ended. It happened so fast. Naked eye observing was truly amazing. It looked like something out of a movie. I was yelling and embarrassing my wife and daughter. I immediately noticed Venus (I think it was Venus) which you could normally never see. I took one good long look through the super binos, and it is hard to describe. The moon looked almost molten and the corona around the Sun looked alive. I was scared that totality would end while I was looking through the binoculars and didn't dilly-dally. My only regret was the short duration and I'm 100% sure that I will be driving to south Texas in 2024 for the next one. I will be better prepared with things to pay attention to. I didn't stop to listen for the Eclipse "wind" that I've read about, and I forgot to look for the shadows that are cast just before totality that I've read about. We did notice that the shadow our hand cast appeared to come from two light sources and became blurry. We were in front of most of the traffic coming home and made it back in just under two hours. All in all a great day to take some vacation time!


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#21 ron scarboro

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:39 PM

We live in Raleigh, NC.  The wife and I piled into the car at 7:45am.  We dropped my son off at the airport (sophomore at Colorado) and dropped him off at RDU to fly back and headed on to SC.

 

Trunk full of equipment.  Tak FS-60C w/Double Stack Coronado 60mm, AP130 w/herschel wedge and EM-200

 

Plan A - Go to Clemson and set-up.  Didn't happen as the construction around Charlotte is ridiculous and the traffic was horrendous.

 

Plan B - We bailed after an hour of stop and go traffic and took I-77 south to Rock Hill and made our way SE through congested backroads toward the center of totality until we ran out of time (1:00pm).  That turned out to be Newberry SC.  My wife googled observing sites and we chose the parking lot at the local community college.  I set up the equipment in a parking lot with about 20 other people.  We were the only chaps with anything other than $4 solar glasses, so we became an instant celebrities.  

 

Clouds were big and puffy, but magically disappeared at the moment of totality.  Pointing out Jupiter for the crowd at the moment of totality was cool (and added to the "rock star" status).  The totality was almost a religious experience for me.  I probably had a slack jaw the whole 2:40.  It looked like God punched a hole in the universe.  Definitely mark one off the bucket list.  Wife was even wowed (not an easy task).

 

Then the not so great?  A 240mile trip home that took 8.5 hours.  I can't really understand why people can't drive in a straight line, but....they can't.

 

Clear skies,

 

Ron


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#22 Mike1405

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:57 PM

This event has been 5 years in the making for me. It started with some wikipedia searching and then falling upon Xavier's excellent eclipse maps. I was dead set on getting to the point of longest duration at Blue Sky Vineyard. My main man there today was Charles from NASA. He was such a TREMENDOUS help, that he forgot to help himself by almost passing out due to heat stroke only 40 minutes before totality. But like Rocky Balboa, he fought back with some fruit, cheese, and a cooling towel. By 20 minutes to totality he was back fighting the good fight.

 

Me and my mother left the hotel in Jackson Missouri at 6:10 and arrived at Blue Sky Vineyard at 7:18. Decided to give the seal of approval on the site after cleardarksky.com said we were all good. I saw people (who ended up being Charles) with intense telescopes and NASA badges and set up next to them. If that spot is good enough of NASA it is good enough for me. My filter situation was a bit dicey as my welders glass was not that optically clear. A lot of people are very impressed with a DSLR on a tripod and were asking me a ton of questions, which can be annoying around crunch time. Despite this, I got to talk to and help quite a number of incredibly nice and curious people and that is one of the best feelings for me. 

 

Through put the entire eclipse there was no more than five small clouds that covered the sun for no more than a minute combined and a perfect view of totality. I personally had never seen a TSE until today and it is by far the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I cried just about the whole time during totality as I was overcome with emotions of all the planning and hard work that led me to this moment. On the ground as I cried, My SEM script worked like a dream. Well it did, myself not so much. I was so overtaken by the moment that I forgot to remove my filter until about half way through, but I did manage to get 20 or so excellent shots. I also took a go pro video of the crowds reaction which is really incredible. After this I truly do believe that seeing a total solar eclipse is the single greatest sight a human can see and that it is NECESSARY to see one in your lifetime. I appreciate all you guy's help through ut the past few months, weeks, and days. i just have one last question:

 

So when does the planning start for Argentina 2019?

 

 


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#23 caveman_astronomer

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 11:23 PM

Booked an inexpensive motel room inside the path on Sunday morning, no traffic on way on Sunday, drove an hour Monday morning to find a good spot, eclipse caused cumulus clouds to dissipate, got a few pics. 


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#24 overnight

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 11:39 PM

This event has been 5 years in the making for me. It started with some wikipedia searching and then falling upon Xavier's excellent eclipse maps. I was dead set on getting to the point of longest duration at Blue Sky Vineyard. My main man there today was Charles from NASA. He was such a TREMENDOUS help, that he forgot to help himself by almost passing out due to heat stroke only 40 minutes before totality. But like Rocky Balboa, he fought back with some fruit, cheese, and a cooling towel. By 20 minutes to totality he was back fighting the good fight.

 

Me and my mother left the hotel in Jackson Missouri at 6:10 and arrived at Blue Sky Vineyard at 7:18. Decided to give the seal of approval on the site after cleardarksky.com said we were all good. I saw people (who ended up being Charles) with intense telescopes and NASA badges and set up next to them. If that spot is good enough of NASA it is good enough for me. My filter situation was a bit dicey as my welders glass was not that optically clear. A lot of people are very impressed with a DSLR on a tripod and were asking me a ton of questions, which can be annoying around crunch time. Despite this, I got to talk to and help quite a number of incredibly nice and curious people and that is one of the best feelings for me. 

 

Through put the entire eclipse there was no more than five small clouds that covered the sun for no more than a minute combined and a perfect view of totality. I personally had never seen a TSE until today and it is by far the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I cried just about the whole time during totality as I was overcome with emotions of all the planning and hard work that led me to this moment. On the ground as I cried, My SEM script worked like a dream. Well it did, myself not so much. I was so overtaken by the moment that I forgot to remove my filter until about half way through, but I did manage to get 20 or so excellent shots. I also took a go pro video of the crowds reaction which is really incredible. After this I truly do believe that seeing a total solar eclipse is the single greatest sight a human can see and that it is NECESSARY to see one in your lifetime. I appreciate all you guy's help through ut the past few months, weeks, and days. i just have one last question:

 

So when does the planning start for Argentina 2019?

I don't know about 2019, I can't lug my stuff there. Maybe just enjoy with naked eye / eclipse glasses only and forget about photography?

 

2024 is the buzz I'm excited for, I'm probably gonna head over to Texas.


Edited by overnight, 21 August 2017 - 11:41 PM.

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#25 bherv

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:37 AM

 My girlfriend and I left Massachusetts Saturday morning for Anderson SC where my friend lives. Our plan was to arrive Saturday night and stay there for the eclipse and leave Tuesday. Heavy traffic due to construction in PA and accidents in VA resulted in us staying the night in Salem VA. Because of a less than ideal forecast for Anderson, I made my plans fluid by packing all my camping gear. On Saturday evening we decided to try to get a campsite in Tennessee. We found a site within a couple hours drive of the path of totality. We headed out Sunday morning with the intention of camping there and driving to an area around Sparta TN for the eclipse early Monday morning. My girlfriend decided to keep trying to find places to camp around Sparta. I was shocked when we found a small campground just north of Sparta that still had sites available. We just couldn't believe our luck. It cost us a total of $40 for two nights. The weather for the eclipse was perfect. We had 2:39 of totality under clear skies.

                                  Barry

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