Of the 19 million or so people who likely made it to the path of totality for today’ solar eclipse, I doubt I have much unique to share. But I have to share my thoughts. I’d read and prepared quite a bit, and I have to now echo the sentiment – you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to see a Total Solar Eclipse, before you die.
We made the final decision and run-in to the shadow’s path this morning, and wound up at the general aviation airport in Sumter, SC (I’m a “Flying” Squirrel, remember). By a crazy coincidence, we wound up sharing the experience with the same friends from Boston we saw three weeks ago on our way to Maine – they were visiting family in Florence, SC, and drove to… the airport in Sumter, SC. When we arrived, the clouds were pretty thick, but forecast to dissipate, so we set up a tent, had lunch, crossed our fingers and waited. The universe smiled on us.
No picture does it justice. This was a multi-sensory experience, as the temperature dropped, the wind changed, the bugs got silent thinking night was falling. The light was…weird. Starting about 10 minutes prior to totality, it felt like an overcast winter day – that “flat” light that’s sort of washed out, but all the reds seemed to be missing. Color was strange. At the same time, the sun had become a point source of light, so shadows were strangely crisp.
We could see the Moon’s shadow rushing at us from the northwest, looking like hard rain under a thunderstorm. And when the sun finally disappeared completely, and we pulled off the eye-shades – I felt completely overwhelmed.
The Sun had been replaced by this… THING in the sky. A beautiful, perfectly black circle with the sinuous woven halo of the Sun’s corona. The 360-degree sunset effect of red-orange at the horizon – that’s a real thing, it happened! We saw Venus starting about 3 minutes before totality. During totality we could see Jupiter, and the star Regulus (it’s the streaked bright spot in these pictures) just outside the corona.
But what got me was the transformation. 99% coverage was cool, but 100% was a completely different thing. And the change was so dramatic, and so sudden – just phenomenal.
My son called it the best minute and a half of his life. Thankfully, my wife also admitted that my eagerness to get here was justified. I can see why people become “umbraphiles” and chase totality. I can say without hesitation I’m already thinking about where to be on April 8, 2024.
For those curious, I’m working on a video… I’m sure it looks like a LOT of videos, but this experience was mine. One that I will treasure.
What did you see? I want to hear about it! If you missed totality – try not to miss it next time. Seriously. I’m changed.
Get Out There