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The Great American Solar Eclipse

Albany, Oregon
August 21, 2017

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We weren't the most organized eclipse viewers. We wouldn't even have had solar-viewing glasses if this nice couple who ran Creswell Coffee hadn't had pity on us and gifted us a pair, just an hour before it started. And through a combination of poor planning and an upset tummy, we would up watching it over a chain-link fence and a school yard.

But Emmy and I did make an effort to go see it: the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017. We drove from Long Beach to Santa Rosa on Friday, from Santa Rosa to Medford on Sunday, and up to the Path of Totality on Monday morning. After, we turned south and drove 10 more hours back to Santa Rosa.

And it was worth it: I've seen eclipses before, but a total eclipse is another animal. The sky turns purple, like late dusk. The black moon moves across the sun and bright yellow-white light pops out the side, like it's trying to escape! Then the moon covers the whole sun, and daylight fades. Everyone goes silent, and then oohs and aahs, and applause. You can take off your solar glasses and look at it with your own eyes: the moon covering the sun.

And then after about 30 seconds, it was over. That bright white light popped out the other side -- the diamond-ring effect! -- and the moon continues across, with white sunlight filling a half ring on the side. Everyone cheers and claps! And dusk gives way to daylight again.