Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, USA
info@astronerd.net

Viewing The Great American Solar Eclipse

Bringing Space Exploration & the Night Sky Down to Earth

Viewing The Great American Solar Eclipse

It had been more than 30 years since the last total eclipse in the US and the eclipse in August of 2017 certainly put the USA into eclipse fever!

This eclipse was named the Great American Eclipse because the path of totality was only in America. Thankfully, that path was only a few hundred miles away from my home in North Carolina.

Originally, my whole family was going to accompany me. However, my wife dropped out first. Then my daughter didn’t want to miss band camp as she was the drum major for her high school band. Then my oldest son dropped out as he made the middle school football team and did not want to miss practice. In the end, it was just my youngest son and 2 fellow Raleigh Astronomy Club (RAC) members that made our way to Lake Greenwood State Park in Georgia.

We did quite a bit of planning for the event, much of it was using Google maps to scout out possible observing locations and possible camping spots. I ended up sharing a Google map with the path of totality and the center-line with fellow RAC members for us to post locations. Here is a link to that map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1GToKOUFcP6mF_aoABN4Ftmbuze4&ll=34.483461302151795%2C-86.41701147843503&z=7

The plan was to try to get camping reservations somewhere within a 3 to 4 hour drive of the most likely observing sites. Then on the day of the eclipse (or the night before), make a decision on an observing location based on the weather forecast.

We lucked out with our location. Not only was the sun never obscured by a single cloud during the entire eclipse but it was a great campground, nice setting and a bunch of people came in for the day so we where able to share views of the Sun through our telescopes and binoculars.

Here is a great map resource for not only the Aug 2017 eclipse but future eclipses across the globe. I especially like that you can specific a location and the site will calculate all sorts of information for you, including the length of totality for your spot; here’s that link:
http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/SolarEclipsesGoogleMaps.htm

I decided to document the experience in video. In the months leading up to the eclipse I tried to find a video that seemed the capture all the emotions and views of a total eclipse. I could not find one I thought captured it all. Hopefully, my video captures that.

In my video you will, of course, see video and pictures of totality but from different views, get a sense of the landscape before and during totality and hopefully get a sense of the emotion of the event. As mentioned before, my wife, daughter and one son did not go with me. They did however capture a few pictures showing the crescent sun shapes cast thru shadows of a colander and via shadows of leaves on a tree.

I hope you enjoy my video:

Clear and Steady Skies!

-Mike