Howards Astronomical Adventures

: Tales From The Night Sky


April 8th was the day, the path of the total solar eclipse would cut through the United States again. Last time, in 2017, I was in Nebraska and the weather did not work out well. In the days leading up to eclipse I was nervous about the weather. It turned out good!

A quick picture using phone camera about mid-eclipse.

Spectacular: one way to describe experiencing the scene Monday afternoon. It is really hard to express how awesome this sight is. Pictures really do not capture the whole of the event.

I was almost exactly on the center line of the eclipse path. Four minutes and eleven seconds in the shadow. Seems like a lot of time but it is passes so quickly. So little time to take everything in. Maybe its because the sight is so stunning, so different than anything you have experienced. The sudden darkness of full eclipse, the eerie look of the ghostly orb hanging in the sky, the chill in the air. The look of sunset on the horizon all around you. So much to experience and so little time.

I now fully understand why some that experience this strive so hard to experience the next eclipse. And the one after that. I feel that way right now. There are some other pictures on my DSLR camera. My goal wasn’t to take pictures, it was to fully experience the eclipse and in that regard it was a tremendous success.

Reflecting on the trip today I don’t think I have ever spent so much time driving, both before and after the event, for such a short experience that this was. Totally worth it, just an amazing event.

Monday did not go as planned though. I never made it to where I intended. At my first rest stop I changed my destination from central Illinois to Poplar Bluff MO . I was afraid of possible cloud issues in Illinois. South east Missouri looked to have a better outlook (model predictions). Yet I did not anticipate traffic on I-55 south would be such a cluster fuck. Barely moving for hours, costing me a lot of time. As the eclipse grew near I had to find a spot just north of Poplar Bluff before it started. There were people observing everywhere along the route. People from all over the country came to that corner of the state.

Traffic sign on the way towards St Louis, early morning on I-70.