Eclipse mania

ArielAriel Shipmate
Might just be me but I feel underwhelmed by all the hype that's going on over the 8 April 2024 eclipse. Here in Britain it's only a partial one, and the sky is currently covered in cloud.

The last eclipse I saw was a few years ago, during the day when I was at work. We poured out into the office car park with a variety of special eclipse glasses and homemade "cameras" that projected the shadow of it onto a conveniently placed piece of paper. Huge fun and a lot of giggles, though most of us failed to see very much.

The best one I saw was when I was living in Oxford at the turn of the century. That was when the Moon passed in front of the Sun, and the birds went very silent in this strange, silvery, eerie light that was like moonlight in the middle of the day. Somewhere a couple of streets away a bloke standing on a rooftop shouted "The end of the world is nigh". You could understand why earlier civilizations found this frightening, and had rituals to placate celestial anger and avert bad luck.

Anyway - any eclipse memories of your own? Any thoughts on today's?

Comments

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    We're in about 95% totality where we live. The fun starts in less than an hour with totality in 2 hours.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    It's at about 3/4s here at the moment in New Brunswick.
  • Eclipses - even partial ones - are pretty cool. It gets dark and feels like evening, except that the shadows are daytime shadows, and the colors are wrong. And then the birds think it's evening, and then morning, and all start singing.

    I briefly entertained driving to get to totality, but then thought about the inevitable traffic on the way home, and what the kids would be like in the car in that traffic, and thought better of it.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    One of my staff drove 100 kms up the river to get totality. SJ got 98%.
  • Ariel wrote: »

    <snip>

    The best one I saw was when I was living in Oxford at the turn of the century. That was when the Moon passed in front of the Sun, and the birds went very silent in this strange, silvery, eerie light that was like moonlight in the middle of the day. Somewhere a couple of streets away a bloke standing on a rooftop shouted "The end of the world is nigh". You could understand why earlier civilizations found this frightening, and had rituals to placate celestial anger and avert bad luck.

    Yes. I remember that one, too. A very strange and eldritch experience - I daresay I wasn't the only person who secretly wondered what would happen if the Sun did not reappear...

  • The_RivThe_Riv Shipmate
    We were completely overcast here in the deep South of the US, which was a pity. My daughter got a great look at it from SW Ohio, though. Not quite in totality, but in the mid-90the percentile, so very nearly. She was delighted to see it.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Most memorable was in Bergen. Those of you familiar with the west coast of Norway will know that to see the sun at all is exceptional. To see it in eclipse is therefore once in a lifetime.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Rained here so no chance at all of seeing the partial one locally, but it's on television to saturation point so I haven't missed anything.
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited April 8
    We saw the 1999 total eclipse on the coast of Northern France (wild camping) and were lucky to be in a place with a perfect view. It had been cloudy where we were but the clouds parted around the sun and it was amazing, we even saw the diamond ring. The birds went quiet, it was eerily dark and cold, and then there was a dawn chorus.
    Mr Heavenly took some fantastic photos.
  • It was lovely. We drove to Centralia, Illinois, which is not too far away and which had about two minutes of totality. There were wispy clouds, but nothing to get in the way.

    Basically the world looked normal up to about 90, 95% of totality. Even the birds went on singing, and aside from the day looking a bit drabber than usual, you'd not notice the difference if you hadn't been told.

    We pulled into an area between a couple of farm fields and sat on camp chairs with eclipse glasses my work was kind enough to provide to employees. Through the glasses you could safely watch the sun being eaten--first a cookie bite, then about half, then a gradually thinning orange crescent that shrunk visibly as we watched it. And then at totality, we took off the glasses, and glory.

    I have never seen anything as pretty. The sky went a deep Easter egg blue, with two bright stars to either side of the sun--one I'm pretty sure was Venus, and I suspect the other might have been Mars, but will have to check up on charts and see. The birds went quiet and the wind came up a bit, the way it does at dusk, and whistled through the brush.

    The moon was completely centered over the sun except for a split second when we had the "diamond ring" effect--where the tiniest bit of the sun shines through a valley on the moon and creates a large sparkle on the edge of the disk. And then that was gone, and all we could see was the sun's glory streaming off in all directions around the dark moon. There was a valley at the bottom of the moon that you could just make out during totality itself--we were looking through it sideways--like a tiny chip in the outline. I wish we had had a telescope, but what we could see was far more than enough. We watched it and talked for a couple minutes, and held hands.

    And then the diamond ring came back, and we hurriedly put our glasses back on, and sat for another fifteen or twenty minutes watching the sun's crescent come back--this time on the bottom right of the disk. We wanted to wait to avoid the traffic, so I got to watch it return to about 25%--and on the way home, saw it back at 75% through the car sun-roof, looking like a cookie with a bite out of it.

    It was a good day.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    What a beautiful description, Lamb Chopped.
  • It was wonderful. (I was wrong about the other star--it wasn't Mars, it was Jupiter!)
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    We gave out eclipse viewing glasses at the library and it was manic all right. Especially this morning, our phone was ringing constantly with people asking if we still had glasses, which we didnt.didn't. Some people got nasty and verbally abusive on being told we were out.
  • NicoleMR wrote: »
    We gave out eclipse viewing glasses at the library and it was manic all right. Especially this morning, our phone was ringing constantly with people asking if we still had glasses, which we didnt.didn't. Some people got nasty and verbally abusive on being told we were out.

    If only there was some way of predicting an eclipse in advance, so they didn't have to panic and try and get hold of eclipse glasses on the morning of. I'm sorry, although not entirely surprised, that you had angry people being abusive at you because of their lack of preparation.
  • MamacitaMamacita Shipmate
    @Lamb Chopped , what a wonderful description. It sounds glorious. Here at the other end of the state, we had only (only!) 95% totality, and we had a perfectly sunny and unseasonably warm day. It was bearing 70 degrees F, but at the peak of it the temps dropped suddenly. I watched it from the Chicago Botanic Gardens, which was lovely.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    I’ve never seen a total eclipse before. My hometown was at about 98-99% but as we were both off work today my husband and I decided to make the 2-hour drive into the zone of totality despite the heavy cloud cover.

    We never got clear skies so never saw the actual eclipse, but we found a pretty spot by a pond to watch the darkness that fell so soddenly and disappeared just as suddenly. The two and a quarter minutes of totality were so eerie and beautiful. I’m so glad we made the trip.
  • I took the day off to drive 70km from Ottawa, Ontario to Brockville on the St. Lawrence River. The path of totality followed the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River; Niagara Falls was also included. I thought it might be too cloudy but it all worked out.

    Brockville had free parking and a shuttle bus available for viewers. The "party" as it were was down on Blockhouse Island on the St. Lawrence River waterfront. Worth every minute. There was a traffic jam going back to Ottawa on the 416 Expressway.

    It's the Royal Canadian Air Force's 100th Anniversary and they were there with a pipe band and flyby and circuit from a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft out of the air base at Trenton ON.
  • The5thMaryThe5thMary Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    Most memorable was in Bergen. Those of you familiar with the west coast of Norway will know that to see the sun at all is exceptional. To see it in eclipse is therefore once in a lifetime.

    Hey, are you a neighbor of Aurora? LOL. She's this amazing (to me, anyway) singer who lives in Bergen. Maybe you pop over to her house to borrow a bottle of beer? Off topic, I know. Sorry!

    Back to eclipse talk...
  • I remember the one you saw in Oxford Ariel - we were in London, and watched from our back garden. And it was an incredible experience.

    I totally got why people get so excited about them. I would love to see a totality, but it is unlikely to happen.

    And I can totally see why people who didn't expect it, had no idea what was going on, and just saw the effects even of a significant partial would have panicked. The sun is changing shape! I ask you.

    Yesterdays - we were totally out of the path, so saw nothing at all.
  • TwangistTwangist Shipmate
    We saw the 1999 one whilst on honeymoon on the Isles of scilly. It was genuinely awesome: Looking across the islands; the stillness; the dawn chorus.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    How amazing @Lamb Chopped!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    The5thMary wrote: »
    Firenze wrote: »
    Most memorable was in Bergen. Those of you familiar with the west coast of Norway will know that to see the sun at all is exceptional. To see it in eclipse is therefore once in a lifetime.

    Hey, are you a neighbor of Aurora? LOL. She's this amazing (to me, anyway) singer who lives in Bergen. Maybe you pop over to her house to borrow a bottle of beer? Off topic, I know. Sorry!

    Back to eclipse talk...

    This was very many years ago. I doubt I'll be back that way again.

    I remember a considerable (I can't remember if it was total or not) in Edinburgh. But we did have some minutes of that eerie dark daylight, quite unlike a normal dusk.

  • KendelKendel Shipmate
    Totality (about 96%) in mid-michigan occurred about 45 minutes after the end of my daughter's school day, so I picked her up, and we went over by the tennis courts to take a good look, armed with our genunine NASA eclipse glasses I brought home months ago from the library where I work.

    My high school kid got in the car and marveled at the lighting (probably 90%+ covered at that point). "I can see stuff!" We went over to the grass, and she spent most of the time looking around and enjoying a serious break from photophobia she experiences from albinism. The closest we could see to totality in MI was about 96% coverage. But it was hardly dark. "Oh, look. There's stuff over there. The sidewalk has texture. I can see that curb. That's what the high school entrance looks like. Oh, I can see some details on the middle school. Look. My (transition lens) glasses didn't even get completely dark."

    And then things started getting brighter by the time we got back to the car. Photophobia was returning.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    I'm in the zone of totality and watched it from my living room window. It was very impressive. My dog was certainly aware of something going on so I'm glad we stayed home. It was great to experience the crowd feeling over the radio. The broadcast was from nearby and the crowd drawing in their breath as totality started was spectacular. All of the students were given glasses before an early dismissal. We had one of the nicest days possible - full sun, blue skies, and very quiet.
  • How wonderful for you both! And very interesting.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    edited April 10
    I flew my Lear Jet to Nova Scotia to see it but it was not a total eclipse.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Vicariously enjoying @Lamb Chopped 's 'diamond ring effect'!

    As a small child I remember looking up at total solar eclipses in the late 1960s through pieces of tinted glass (not much protection) but don't recall much more. More memorable was Halley's Comet in 1986, we drove out with blankets and telescopes to watch it in the night skies over the Karoo.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Excellent word picture there, LC, that filled in the gaps beautifully for those of us who didn't get to see it. Thank you.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited April 10
    Thank you, folks, for the kind words! I wrote the description so i wouldn’t forget what it was like—my memory needs a boost sometimes.
  • Telford wrote: »
    I flew my Lear Jet to Nova Scotia to see it but it was not a total eclipse.

    Possess your soul (and your private jet) in patience for a couple of years:

    The next total eclipse anywhere is 12 August 2026, covering large areas of the northern hemisphere, although totality will be limited to Greenland, Iceland, Spain, Russia and a small area of Portugal.

    🌞
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Tbh when you've seen one, you've seen them all...
    ☀️🌓🌑
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 10
    Ariel wrote: »
    Tbh when you've seen one, you've seen them all...
    ☀️🌓🌑

    O well. Perhaps @Telford would do better to return his private jet to the seller...or maybe sell it on to Mr Sunak...
    :wink:
  • The problem is Telford thinks this song is about him 🤣
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Ariel wrote: »
    Tbh when you've seen one, you've seen them all...
    ☀️🌓🌑
    Not just me, then? :lol: Though I’ll admit Lamb Chopped’s description made me wish just a little that I found it all more exciting. (Not that it would have done much good where I am. Here, it just looked like we were about to have thunder storm.)

    If I’m honest, I find lunar eclipses more interesting.


  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    The problem is Telford thinks this song is about him 🤣

    Don't I, Don't I
  • Heheheh
  • KendelKendel Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    I flew my Lear Jet to Nova Scotia to see it but it was not a total eclipse.

    @Telford , you're where you should be all the time. But when you're not....
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    If I’m honest, I find lunar eclipses more interesting.

    Yes, I agree.

  • Astronomically, maybe, but the sheer eerieness or otherworldliness of the total eclipse I witnessed (was it as far back as 1999?) was an unforgettable experience. I guess only totality can really provide that.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Astronomically, maybe, but the sheer eerieness or otherworldliness of the total eclipse I witnessed (was it as far back as 1999?) was an unforgettable experience. I guess only totality can really provide that.
    I’m reminded of the Tin Man—“But once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart.”

    Having experienced both a total solar eclipse and a total lunar eclipse, I find the latter much more eerie and otherworldly, in a way that speaks to something deep. But then, I feel a similarly about the night sky versus the day sky.


  • Kendel wrote: »
    We went over to the grass, and she spent most of the time looking around and enjoying a serious break from photophobia she experiences from albinism.

    What a cool experience for her!

    (I'm curious how this compared to dusk for her - the light level would have been pretty similar, but perhaps these places have bright lights on timers that come on at night?)

    Glad that you, and she, enjoyed the experience.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    On 22 July 2028 there will be a total eclipse of the sun in NZ. Apparently best seen in Dunedin and Queenstown. Just thought I'd let you know so you can save up if you're interested.

    Bring your winter woolies, its cold down there.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    My daughter and her partner, who drove about 5 hours away from home on Monday to get a better view of totality without cloud cover, are already thinking about visiting Australia or New Zealand in 2028.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Huia wrote: »
    On 22 July 2028 there will be a total eclipse of the sun in NZ. Apparently best seen in Dunedin and Queenstown. Just thought I'd let you know so you can save up if you're interested.

    Bring your winter woolies, its cold down there.

    That’s a thought: if not dead will be definitely retired & a good excuse to visit the South Island ( sorry, Huia but can’t remember the correct nomenclature)

  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    edited April 11
    Telford wrote: »
    I flew my Lear Jet to Nova Scotia to see it but it was not a total eclipse.

    Gee, you could have crossed the bridge and come for lunch at our place.
Sign In or Register to comment.