Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse from Eastern Oregon

We left Seattle at 5 am on Sunday, August 20th towards Eastern Oregon to camp near the little town of Mitchell, "gateway" to the Painted Hills.  Once there we would find a random camping directly in the center of the path of totality to watch the Great American Eclipse. 


There was no cell phone service, as the 10s of 1,000s of eclipse viewers would be consuming the bandwidth and no solid camping reservation.  We knew our friends would be out somewhere in the hills, and we were extremely lucky to have found them by dumb luck!  Here are a few of our committed eclipse watching members.

Our peaceful campsite in the center of it all, on incredibly beautiful BLM land.  Hundreds of other people were camping in this vast area, mostly by the river that was a short walk from us.   

August 21st, 9:30am the moon begins to cover the sun and people are all around watching with their glasses!   They are being so cute holding each other, sitting in the river, cheering and enjoying the anticipation of the event.  There are many little mountains surrounding the area and people are occupying their peaks, like the guy sitting in a chair on top of this mountain.  He is tiny in the picture, but if you look closely you'll see him!

The pinhole camera effect.  Light travels in a straight line, so if you hold an object with a tiny aparature it projects the inverted image (of the eclipse) onto a shadow.   See all the crescent moons?

Tim built his own pinhole camera with everyday household items.  We took a time lapse video on our phone of the eclipse.  Crafty fun!

 The sky begins to darken, soon the shadow appears on the horizon and you can see it sweep over the sky like a fast approaching storm.  This is incredible.  

The light looks strange, we are getting the sense of being on another planet. 

 People are cheering all around us, the energy is high and the sky is so dark the stars come out.  The eclipse is in totality and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in the sky.  

My camera is not very fancy, but I remember very clearly the light scintillating around the dark shadowy sun, and the black eye of a god peering down on us.  When the moon began to reveal the sun again, after a full 2 minutes of darkness and chilling drop in temperature, we were excited to see the light come back.  When the beam shone from the corner of the moon it glistened like the most beautiful diamond, and yet you could only look at it for 1 second to keep from going blind.  

The sun has returned.

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone, it was absolutely simply beautiful.  I am now hooked and want to be an eclipse chaser.  Where in the world will I see the next Total Solar Eclipse?