If you ever have the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun – don’t hesitate, take the chance!!!
It is truly one of the wonders of the universe that humans can see with their naked eye and makes you realise a little of how the universe really works (and how insignificant we are in reality).
My chance came with the August 2017 eclipse that spanned North America. So when you have the path of totality that spans an entire continent where do you do to see it?
Checking the weather and the climate for August I settled on the state of Oregon where the eclipse would occur in mid-morning. I looked for sites in the eastern part of the state well away from the Pacific coast which tends to have morning fog at that time of year and settled on anywhere near Madras where totality would last 95 seconds.
Eventually, I found the “Crooked River Ranch”, a small retirement resort (where many Westerns have been filmed) for “only” US$350 per night. Air BnB properties in Madras we US$1,000/night for the night before the eclipse. The resort had uninterrupted views of the entire horizon so seemed ideal, and as it turned out everyone there was there to see the eclipse to the atmosphere around the resort was great.
There was huge interest in the eclipse, Madra’s population went from 15,000 to over 300,000 overnight with mobile homes coming from all over the states. Some of these “mobile” homes were larger than my first flat, with many friendly and proud Americans eager to show them off.
The morning of the eclipse dawned to a clear sunny day, interstate highways down to an average speed of 5mph with people trying to get into the totality area and warnings about not stopping on freeways during the eclipse.
I set up a small sun scope and camera and helped some visitors from Zimbabwe get their telescope to work correctly. We sat back and watched the moon slowly move over the sun. The temperature started to drop and everything went quiet when suddenly the sun was gone and we were in eerie darkness and people started hooting and cheering.
I was torn between taking photos or just enjoying the spectacle, I managed both. Suddenly the sun came back and we watched as the moon moved away from the sun.
In a word – FANTASTIC!
I hope my photos do it some justice, you have to see this for yourself. Try Chile in 2019 and again in 2020, or closer to home Exmouth and the North West cape in 2023.