Tuesday, August 22, 2017

38 Years Later: Full Solar Eclipse 2017

The last full solar eclipse visible from the United States was 38 years ago.

38 years!!!

Most of us don't remember anything, and many of us weren't even born. This latest eclipse, then, was a major event. The path of totality was rather thin, and there were many rumors that traffic to reach the path would be terrible. Here are some of the statements I heard:

  • "Oh, a five-hour drive? Ha! Make that fifteen. The traffic is going to be insane!"
  • "I don't envy you that road congestion."
  • "Oh, you should've left Tuesday if you're going. There's already a 30-mile slowdown."
  • "Eh. I'll just stay right here and see the partial eclipse. Who needs to go through all that trouble?"
This small path ran along the US as shown below in this photo from Eclipse2017.org:

trajectory of the curved 2017 eclipse path in the USA from OR to SC
I can definitely see why so many people were dissuaded from trying to find a point along the path. That's a tiny band, and the sweet spot was located along that itty-bitty blue line along the center of it. Well, these two green boots were made for opportunities like this!

We went to Lincoln City, Oregon on August 21st and stayed overnight at the Chinook Wind Casino resort. It's a great place along the beach, which means spectacular viewing.


Lincoln City was also the first place in the United States that got to see totality. Score!!!

I actually did expect a bit of a slowdown getting there, so you can imagine my shock when there was no abnormal traffic to speak of.


It was a nice, peaceful, uneventful drive. Aside from a few businesses advertising eclipse glasses, you wouldn't know anything out of the ordinary was happening at all.

Of course, the next morning was different. I woke up to a parking lot full of vehicles, including two news vans.

Now, the wait from the point at which the eclipse began (roughly 9:04 am) until the eclipse reached totality (roughly 10:16 am) was a bit long.

So what did people actually do to pass the time?

Well, many just... sat there... waiting. That was a bit too much sitting for someone like me that needed to keep moving, so I ran around, looking to see just how many people were there, what they were doing, how they were feeling, etc.

Some people chose a spot on the beach, which seemed like a good idea, but... beaches along the Pacific Northwest have a tendency to be covered in fog.
The fog was really working at becoming a rainbow!

 While this fog does look beautiful at times, it's still not the greatest for eclipse viewing. The moisture gets on your glasses, and it's... chilly! I was up in the parking lot with the majority of people.

And it's a good thing I was!

Had I been anywhere else, I may have missed what was undeniably a sight worth seeing. In order to pass the time while waiting for totality, one group of people danced! It definitely broke the monotony of all those... sitting... people.

These dancers really livened the mood, making an extraordinary event even more amazing!

And the view of the sun throughout the process? Completely worth every moment.

And this is what it looked like just a few minutes before totality.

And what did we see during those two minutes of total eclipse? 

I did mention it was foggy, right? 
At this point, the eclipse glasses were worthless. With the sun completely covered, the glasses couldn't even track the thin outline. The photo above was taken without a lens, so the camera faced the full impact of light bouncing off of the fog.

Even so...

The world darkened, The casino's outdoor lights turned on, and the crowd cheered. Hearts were racing, and everyone seemed to join together in a single, indescribable joy.

Did you make it to the path of totality? Tell us about it in the comments below. And while you're at it... head to the Green Boots Facebook page and post your pics for everyone to enjoy!

1 comment:

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