Sunday, August 27, 2017

Charleston Eclipse, August 21, 2017

Friends' eclipse T-shirts

Wow! Where has the summer gone? It's been busy--catching up on email and regular mail and other delayed housework after spending a few months revising and polishing a couple of books that came out this summer (June and July).

Neighbors' eclipse T-shirts; eclipse viewing station on lawn

The big event of the summer has been the Great American Eclipse, which I was lucky enough to see from the front yard of my home in Charleston, SC.

Here's my journal excerpt about the experience, along with some photos taken with a little Cannon camera.

August 21, 2017   ~ 1:40 pm
The eclipse has begun. I saw a bit of it about 20 minutes ago with the eclipse glasses I got this morning from a friend, Nancy Hild. The sun just came out from behind the high-piled cumulus clouds, and now the eclipse is nearly half complete. Thunder rumbles in the background.

It’s not quite as hot outside as it was about an hour ago when I was packing groceries into the trunk of the car. Decided to go grocery shopping after picking up the glasses from Nancy because I’ve gotten way down on milk, fruit, and veggies, and the BiLo is on the way back from her house.
The sun is still out from the clouds. Some wispy cirrus strands float across the sky in the blue space between cumulus clouds. Now the sun is about half gone.
Now clouds are drifting across the sun, and I can’t see it with the eclipse-glasses. But interestingly, if I look up at the clouds with regular sunglasses, I can see the “partially devoured” sun through them without hurting my eyes.
Now the sun is out again. It’s playing peek-a-boo with the clouds. A crow just flew over my roof, squawking loudly. Insects fly around the bushes. I just don’t spend enough time outside, these days. As a child (lo, these many years ago), I used to spend at least half the day outside.
I can hear the TV in the front room of the house. Haven’t had it on for about two months. I just turned it on to get eclipse news. First was the eclipse in Oregon. Then I put away groceries and came outside to watch it for myself.
The eclipse shadow is now more than halfway across the sun. Just went inside to check the time (2:12 pm). The eclipse is nearing totality in Missouri. More than half of “my families” are on the path of the eclipse: Briana and Blake (with Jeremy) in Pocatello, Idaho; Judi and Danny Lane in Blue Springs, Missouri; Elisabeth and her family in the outskirts of Nashville; and I am here in Charleston.
With the eclipse-glasses on, I see nothing but the sun, no background images whatsoever: no trees, no clouds, nothing but an orange disc, increasingly deformed. When the clouds thicken between me and the sun, I can see the partial eclipse with ordinary sunglasses. The rim is becoming thinner and thinner. I hope that, when totality arrives, the sun will come out from behind the clouds; I hope we will be able to see the corona. Looking at the sky right now, though, the probability of that seems to be about 15%.
The wind is picking up; it’s cooling me and fluttering pages of the journal. Now, there’s just a thin rim of sun on the left side of the disc. It still seems like full daylight, though. One of the neighborhood dogs is barking and howling incessantly.
Now the sun is just a thin, half-circle sliver. I’m surprised at how much light it still sheds, although the heat has gone down. Earlier, I was sweating profusely but not any more. The temperature is quite mild, and a soft breeze soothes the skin of my arms and blows through my hair.
Now, a big, blue patch of sky surrounds the dimming sun. We may get lucky! I have my camera in case there’s a chance to photograph totality.

Sun dancing in the sky
Beginning of totality

The eclipse just passed. I think I got a few pictures of totality, although thin clouds still veiled the sun at the time. For a while, the sun seemed to dance around in the viewfinder. then it settled down to a thin rim with red beads near the bottom, and finally a bright, white signet-ring emerged.

Signet ring.
The end of totality with flare beads

Sun emerging from the moon, cloudy sky

The sun's bright rim on the right side of the moon is nearly covered with clouds. 
Now (~3:00?) huge, dark clouds are coming in from the north, a deep, ominous gray. A fly has fallen into my coffee, the wind is up, firecrackers are crackling the air, and I think I’ll go inside.
Shortly after totality, black clouds covered the emerging sun, and it began to rain after I went into the house. Thank Heavens, we were able to see this eclipse here in Charleston!