Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Eclipse - we saw it!

We drove to central Oregon to the see August, 2017 total exlipse of the Sun. (About 360 miles each way.) We reserved a hotel in The Dalles, Oregon, over a year in advance. We paid more than we usally pay, but they honored their regular rate and did not try to gouge us.

Totality was at about 10 am. So we had breakfast at the hotel and left at about 7 am. We would have aimed for the eclipse center at Mitchell, Oregon, but having a nursing mother (and 3-week-old son) along, she required a shorter trip. So I assumed a group of 3 adjacent parks about 10 miles SE of Fossil, Oregon would provide us public bathroom. On arrival we found a campground with bathroom and an open meadow perfect for viewing. About 150 people joined us, including a group who set up a 10-inch telescope set up for sun viewing and gave everyone a chance to use it. Almost everyone had protective glasses of various sorts (My son-in-law sold for $10 a pair he paid $2.00 for!) and some had pin-hole viewers - trivial to make; a paper plate with a pinhole will do,

It was spectacular. Amateur astronomers present had phone apps that gave the instant of totality to the second, so they shouted out when it was safe to remove glasses, then when necessary to put them back on. Totality creeps up... It gets darker and darker... then the dark sun has a halo around it that is not uniform, but has some streaks. Spectacular!!

It is an experience of a lifetime. It's worth traveling 720 miles and two nights in a nice hotel. This was my second. In 1979 there was a total that we only had to drive 110 miles from Seattle to view so I took off from work to go see it.

(This was in my drafts for over a year.)

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