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August 21, 2017, western Oregon, it went west to east across the U.S.
at about 1,400 miles/hour :-))
Furthest home of people I talked with: Mexico City !!
( Added feature, pictures from friends who went to Madras, Oregon )
My last solar eclipse chase was rained out - but surprisingly informative for the novice (me).
As the media and NASA kept reminding us
- - The path of a solar eclipse will cross the U.S. August 21, 2017 from Oregon through South Carolina
a U.S. eclipse map
- - Solar eclipses through populated areas are relatively uncommon.
- - solar eclipses are useful for science :-))
- - don't look at the sun (unless fully blocked by the moon without suitable protection.
The center of the path through Oregon is about 600 north of the San Francisco Bay Area, my home, and a moderate reach.
In March, Robert Garner said he is going to this one, and that some University of Arizona astronomers are going to work and present at Madras, Oregon, with housing at Bend, OR. They chose that site because historically its weather has been the clearest in August for years. Robert wanted to watch their activities and presentations.
Madras, OR was getting ready for 100,000 visitors. Looking at the small roads in central Oregon, I opted to hang out near Interstate Highway 5, about 80 miles west, and a straight shot to/from home. Motels in/near Albany and Corvallis, OR, in the eclipse path of totality were already fully booked, so I booked in Eugene, about 45 miles south of Corvallis.
In early August, at the Vintage Computer Festival West, people from Seattle said there was a lot of smoke from Canadian forest fires. Maybe that would interfere with eclipse watching ??
An of course I kept a watchful eye on the seven day weather forecast.
My game plan was
- Drive up (north ;-) to Eugene Saturday the 19th
- Rest and Reconnoiter Sunday,
- See the Eclipse Monday,
- Head Home Quickly when the sun re-appeared, before the mob got onto the highway.
Drive up (north ;-) to Eugene Saturday the 19th
7:30 AM start, filled car with gas and observed mileage. Stopped by son Carl's house to sing him "Happy Birthday" and continued north. Around Redding, about 250 miles north, there was haze, turning into obvious smoke. I really hoped that this wasn't due to the Canadian forest fires. The smoke got worse up by the town called "Ashland, Oregon" but decreased further north as I got into the farm land further north in Oregon. The smoke was completely gone (clear) by Eugene, OR :-))
Rest and Reconnoiter Sunday
Before going, I figured the little town of Jefferson (just NE of Albany) (listed population 3 thousand) would be a fun place. I imagined happy people gathered near ?a bar? enjoying to coming event.
Unfortunately, when I checked out Jefferson on Sunday, it seemed grey and dying - an abandoned store, one live and one dead gas station, no possibility of 3 thousand population, even including dogs, cats, and rabbits, ... a good place to be from, not go to ...
Near the Albany airport I saw three people in a little field setting up a table and tripod with small camera and big (about 60 mm wide) lens. So I wandered over. The grandfather and two teen age boys were experimenting with the equipment, speaking Spanish. They said they were from Mexico City, up here for the eclipse, and practicing with their equipment. Unfortunately, they had left the telescope clock drive home, so were having trouble tracking the sun as it appears to rotate about the earth. They seemed to have their share of troubles, so I didn't take a picture.
I checked out the University of Oregon at Corvallis, home of the feared Oregon "Ducks" football team. There was a field where people were seeming to prepare a large balloon to carry some load high - but like most campuses, parking is a major problem in ordinary times - probably impossible at a media event.
I finally decided I would view the eclipse from the intersection of highway US 5 and the turn off to Corvallis. There I could get away from the eclipse area before the mob clogged the highway.
See the Eclipse Monday - August 21st 2017
Up at 4:00 AM, microwave and eat the breakfast Betty had fixed Saturday morning for today. Three other California cars are loading and leaving in the dark.
Set GPS for destination of Hwy 5 and cut-off to Corvallis, and head north 45 miles. Arrive just after dawn at the Subway and park in a get-away spot. After a while I figure that late arriving folks will double park, blocking me, so move to abandoned gas station next door - near exit next to on-ramp for Hwy 5 South :-))
The sky is clear, not a sign of clouds, fog or smoke :-))
About 8 AM, apparent owner of abandoned gas station shows up with pickup truck, and parks blocking the exit to the station :-(( I mull this over for a bit - Then find him and ask why he blocked the exit. He said that people will likely come racing through later, and he doesn't want the liability. I mention that I would like to leave just after totality ends. He says "That's your car parked over there - I will back my truck and you fill the empty space, and leave when ever you like. So that is what we did - Small town folks seem so friendly and cooperative (usually ;-))
He had also arranged for two cars to block the entrance. So I took this panorama of the folks waiting for the eclipse.
Note: the change in lighting as I swung the camera south, west, north, east, and south again ...
The brightness was decreasing, and the automatic exposure struggled to keep up. The contrast decreased.
"Feisty Grandmother" wanted to convince the rest of us that driving around corners with manual clutch and stick-shift is a lot more fun. She said she had driven up from Redding, California (350 miles south) yesterday and camped with many others near the Chevron gasoline station across the highway last night. She did not complain about sleeping under the stars.
The couple from Eugene, 45 miles south, had the same make car as mine, and we compared notes. We all agreed that the "entertainment center" of our cars was way too complex for casual use. Finding and remembering the correct verbal commands was a big pain. I said that I was delighted to get 30 miles/gallon at 70 miles/hour (California highway speed limit). I credited the extra high gear for this. Many years ago, Nash automobiles had "overdrive", a similar arrangement giving good gas mileage :-))
My new acquaintances said "It's getting cooler! a little chilly" and so it was. Looking up (through the glasses) the moon covered say 90% of the sun. I said "Good bye", took the panarama series (above), and went to my car to view totality.
Looking east. This is a flash picture. My car is in the lower right.
I have no idea what that image/artifact in the sky is -
Totality, Looking Up Not very big. The sun and moon are each 1/2 degree wide as viewed from earth. The eclipse image from my little hand held camera is enlarged over 10X ;-))
Viewing west, to see the coming sunlight ;-))
Head Home Quickly when the sun re-appeared, before the mob got onto the highway.
OOPS, a flash of sun !! Time to hit the road and avoid the coming traffic. Goodbye :-))
It worked !! "Normal" traffic all the 590 miles home :-))
Added feature, pictures from friends who went to Madras, Oregon
Robert Garner (white hat) enjoying the good life ;-))
"Robin & I were stunned by the spectacular total solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon, on Monday and enjoyed participating in the Lowell Observatory activities, including astronomer talks in a hall next to the Madras High School football field. Smoke drifting in from fires to the west was worrisome, but, when totality broke, it didn't interfere with the beautiful corona."
Ps. This was our 4th total eclipse experience, 3rd viewed by me ;-|
Big Island, Hawaii 1991, Munich 1999, Aspendos, Turkey 2006.
April 2024 could be next: Big Bend, Texas to Maine?...
Flickr photos forwarded to us by Lowell Observatory's development director, Lisa Actor:
> Check out these photos taken by one of our members from Boston, Mark Schiefsky:
Amazing/beautiful telescope photos of red “beads" (as I recall perceiving them) and spectacular diamond ring photos!
Marc Verdiell (not shown) likes to come well equipped ;-))
Also, Marc's YouTube presentation.