Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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How was your eclipse?

Oh, btw, yes, we had a great time during the eclipse, and I hope you all got to see it as well. My parents and I hosted seven guests (some just briefly). Luckily we had wonderful luck during the actual eclipse, with clouds around us but nothing threatening . . . until two minutes before totality, when a small cloud crossed the sun. It got out of the way with thirty seconds to spare, a real nail-biter for timing, but delightful in retrospect because it worked out just fine.

I didn’t take many pictures, not having special equipment or anything, but here is a picture created at Mineral Area College, by layering 80 frames from a camera connected to a telescope, if I understand correctly:

And here are before and after pictures of shadows on our deck, showing how the crescents reverse direction:

The whole thing would definitely have been worth driving for, but I must say, it was even better if you could just watch it perfectly from your own home. One of the neatest things I didn’t expect was how the light just . . . turned . . . up after totality, exactly as though God were turning a dimmer switch. We were all watching the eclipse too closely to see how that worked as the sun went out, but it was so interesting as it came back out. I did hear one lone nearby cricket chirp during the darkest period, and a neighbor’s rooster started crowing when the sky lightened afterward.

Our friends from Chicago drove home that afternoon; the drive took them nine hours (instead of the normal six). But at that they were lucky; check out this article from the Chicago Tribune!

Here’s hoping for similar luck in eight years, when once again my house and my parents’ home will be in just the right spot!

Postscript: if you’ve never happened to read Annie Dillard’s essay about the experience of a total eclipse, here it is online.

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6 Comments How was your eclipse?

  1. Elaine T

    THanks for those photos of the changing crescents of the shadows. I haven’t seen any of those, and forgot to look for myself yesterday.

  2. Pete Mack

    In upstate NY, the eclipse was just a bit less than 70%, so the crescent dappling was the most impressive effect. Under a very tall maple tree, the crescents were 6″ across.

    (Looking through a pinhole camera was pretty dull.)

  3. SarahZ

    We brought a colander outside, in order to see the crescent effect, but eclipse glasses were all sold out by the time we thought to get some. My husband was in CA and had some special glasses, and reported that they’re really cool, and let him see the eclipse through cloud cover.

  4. Rachel

    Someone showed me a picture of the shadows created by a colander. Pretty cool. Too bad you didn’t have the glasses. We were fortunate because Mineral Area College made a big deal about the eclipse and sold approved glasses through the bookstore for months beforehand, so it was impossible to forget to buy them and easy to supply enough for everyone.

  5. Rachel

    At my house, you can recycle the glasses by sticking them in a drawer for eight years. We should be on the path of totality next time, too. Though this donation idea for kids who might see an eclipse sooner than that is great — thanks for sharing the idea, Evelyn.

    Here is a link for a Gizmodo article about donating eclipse glasses if you would like to do that. Apparently there will be solar eclipses in Asia and South America in 2019.

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