Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Weekly Roundup 13: Eclipsed


In 2017, which seems like half a lifetime ago considering everything that has happened since, I made the trek north to Wyoming in order to be in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse. From a hilltop in a historic mining village called Sunrise, we had clear skies and a perfect view of the solar show overhead. (The traffic after was apocalyptic, however, as the sleepy two lane roads were in no way suited for hundreds of thousands of visitors, but that's another story.)

Nearly seven years later, we took a much longer road trip to Georgetown, Texas for the 2024 solar eclipse this past Monday, April 8. We chose Texas for its high probability of sunny skies and booked our vacation rental a year in advance. We had our eclipse glasses and eclipse binoculars. We were ready.

A week beforehand, the weather was not looking good. Cloud cover predicted at 80%, a chance of rain, and the possibility of "damaging" hail. Still feeling hopeful, we packed up the car and made the two day drive south. Because what else can you do but hope for the best?

On eclipse day, we made a slight adjustment in plans based on the cloud forecast. As we drove to our destination, I couldn't help but think about how the eclipse itself was a sure thing. Thanks to the knowledge of our solar system gleaned over centuries, this cosmic event could be predicted down to the second with one hundred percent certainty. There was no guessing about where and when it would happen. And yet we humans down below were dealing with much uncertainty.

I'm happy to say that the cloud cover, which had been playing peek-a-boo with the sun all morning, broke just in time to allow us a view of the sun completely eclipsed by the moon. During the four minutes of totality, we saw the skies darken and felt the air cool. We heard roosters crowing from a distance. We were able to observe the eclipse phenomena of Baily's Beads and the Diamond Ring.

In other words, we were very lucky.

And the overwhelming traffic that was expected didn't materialize, perhaps because the weather forecast kept some people away. 

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been able to observe this awesome event twice in the last ten years, especially because I've been able to share the experience of true wonderment with very special people. 

Be well, friends! Oh, and in the spirit of eclipse week, here's a picture of my space-themed tiny garden:

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