We have been in Driggs, ID, staying with some new friends, Dan and Nan. Their home sits on five acres facing the Grand Teton Mountains. The views from their front and back yards are amazing. They have allowed us to set up the RV on the property beside a garage so we don’t interfere with the view of the mountains.
We are here for the eclipse. This location will have 2 minutes and 16 seconds of totality (the time of darkness). Others have come for the eclipse:
- Stacy and Lewis with the kids (Grady, David, and Julia) from Texas
- David and Anita from New Mexico
- Marv, Claire (Sis), and Rae from Colorado
- Raechel, Dillon, and a couple of their friends from Colorado
Bringing the total to 17 staying with Dan and Nan – talk about great hosts!
The morning of the eclipse and we are up having breakfast, talking, kids playing, and another group of people led by Marv and Sis are setting up two telescopes; both are equipped with solar lenses so we can look at the sun. Rae sets up her camera also equipped with a solar lens. Paper solar glasses (approved for eclipse viewing) are laid out on a table and people start claiming theirs. Marv has brought solar binoculars, which are an amazing way to look at the sun.
Some traditional ways of viewing an eclipse are also set up. Using a piece of paper with a hole in it to cast the image onto another piece of paper. A colander held up so the sun shines through it and onto a flat surface, provides many images of the sun.
Once the telescopes are set up, we can see the sun, sun spots, and the corona. The solar lenses are so dark you can’t see anything through them except the sun.
As the eclipse begins everyone starts watching it utilizing all the different ways we have available. Grady is set up with NASA to report in on the eclipse.
As the sun becomes about 80% covered you notice that the sun’s heat is not as intense and it is a really nice day. A few minutes later, the sunlight is different – it has a grayish tinge to it and your shadow looks fuzzy – you also notice it is becoming much cooler. The moment the moon’s shadow completely covers the sun it goes dark – like a light switch was turned off. Looking up you see planets and stars (we could see 3 planets). It is very difficult to explain how this event makes you feel, but it is easy to see how people that don’t know what is happening would be confused and scared. Now you can look up at the sun, no solar lens needed, and see the corona glowing around the dark shadow of the moon. But looking out across the land we see sunset colors on the mountains and landscape all the way around us. Think sunset 360o.
At the moment that the shadow moves off the sun, there is a dazzling bright light with the corona still shining – the diamond ring effect. This requires solar lenses to be put back on. We watched as the shadow moved and the sun became larger. The grayish light comes and goes, fuzzy shadows give way to crisp ones, the cool air warms up, and the intensity of the sunlight is back.
Life goes on, but it is one of nature’s shows you should not miss. April 8, 2024, there will be a full eclipse across the USA. This time a large part of Texas will have the opportunity for an eclipse experience. Mark your calendars we will be in Texas then.