Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Eclipse #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day five of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

My theme is Days of Our Lives.  In my life, I have been fortunate enough to be able to view two total eclipses of the sun.  I had to travel for both of them.

To see the first one, on March 7, 1970, I joined a bus of college students and a handful of senior high school students, on a trip from the Bronx (a borough of New York City) to Greenville, North Carolina, to the campus of East Carolina University.  I took an astronomy course in my senior year and was fortunate to get one of the last spaces on the trip.

Somewhere in my house is a picture of me, dressed in bell bottom purple polyester pants, looking through a reflector telescope.   The day was clear, and what happened in that eclipse will stay with me for the rest of my life.  The burst of cold wind, the shadow that swept across the field where we were set up, the incredible silence, the feeling that you were just a small spec of dust in the view of the Universe.  I am not a spiritual person, but I know that was the closest I have ever gotten to a spiritual experience.

On February 26, 1979, after a flight out to the West Coast and short visits to Seattle and Portland, my husband and I watched an early morning eclipse along a highway in rural Oregon.

And now, on August 21, 2017, there will be a rare eclipse - what is now being called the Great American Eclipse, because it will only touch the mainland United States.

Nearly everyone living on the mainland United States is within a days drive of being able to see this eclipse.

There are even websites devoted to the eclipse. A far cry from 1970 and 1979.

My son (who is in his mid 20's now) told me about the eclipse several years ago, and announced that he wanted to see it with us.  Maybe not any more, but I hope we can somehow make this a family eclipse vacation.  Already, his plans are deviating from ours, and it may not come to be.

But we will watch it almost at the same time, wherever we are.  For us, "wherever" is looking like Columbia, South Carolina, a city I have visited once before.

It won't be one of the longer eclipses, but it won't matter.

I am in my 60's now, and I want, one more time, to feel that solar wind and see that shadow fly over the landscape one last time.  I want to shiver in the solar wind once more. I want to feel like a tiny dust mote within the Universe.


I will be reminded once more that, like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives....

40 comments:

  1. Putting the August date in my calendar! Sounds like a very unique experience I don't want to miss. Thanks for sharing this information.

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    1. They say almost all Americans live within a days drive of the eclipse. You will be pleased by the experience if you get to see it.

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  2. I know it is not your entire point but being where I am right now with my child developmentally – – I became distracted by and in love with the fact your son wanted to see the eclipse with you.

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    1. Thank you, Carla. At his age, it is rather sweet that he thought of seeing it with us.

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  3. Very nice! I want to make sure I experience this in 2017. It's good to have goals. :)

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    1. I hope you get to see it. It's a fantastic experience.

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  4. I remember a solar eclipse when I was school (Google says 1955) and I made one of the boxes to view it. Quite the big deal.

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    1. I'll bet it was. And justifiably so.

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  5. Well, that eclipse is almost my daughter's birthday (the next day), so we may do the same.

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    1. It would be a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday. I hope it can come to pass.

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  6. Always something magical with the eclipse.

    Stuart
    https://stuartnager.wordpress.com/

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    1. Yes. Magical is a good description.

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  7. i had witnessed a solar eclipse when i was in school.. people went crazy everyone was on their terraces with the special goggles on!
    Tina from
    The Sunny Side of Life
    Twinkling Tina Cooks

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    1. It is an amazing experience. I'm happy you were able to have it.

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  8. Wow a family eclipse vacation! that sounds interesting. I love watching the sky and figuring out constellation. Once I got to see a lunar eclipse too. But never solar eclipse.

    Visiting from A to Z Challenge
    Co-host Pam's Unconventional Alliance Team
    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

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    1. I hope you get the opportunity - and think of the pictures you could take.

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  9. I want to see an eclipse too. The last time it happened here, I was pregnant and my parents, being superstitious, did not allow me to even peek outside. BUT, one day..

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    1. I hope you get the opportunity one day. Sad that superstition kept you from the beauty of this event.

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  10. Lovely post! Definitely on my list of things to see!

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    1. Thank you. You won't regret adding it to your list.

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  11. This next eclipse falls on my anniversary and very close to me, looks like my husband wont have to plan much next year!

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    1. What an anniversary trip that would be. Hope you get to do it!

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  12. The experience is surreal. I can remember the time I watched one, how confused the birds were in the middle of the day.

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    1. We had an almost total eclipse when we lived in Arkansas back in the 1980's - it may have been 97 or 98% (may have been May 5, 1985). My husband was on our land and saw how the chickens roosted, thinking it was time for bed.

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  13. This makes me think of a song I love, Total Eclipse of the Heart.
    Cheers, Alana.

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  14. Oooh, I didn't know about this one. I'll have to make plans to see it. I wonder if it'll be close to me. (I'd look it up right now, but I'm sneaking in time at work right now...)

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  15. Hi Alana. You have a vivid memory plus what you saw must have been truly remarkable. I haven't directly seen an eclipse as I have been brought up with the notion of the sun rays being harmful during this time. I know better now but it is difficult to shake off old beliefs. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Cheers
    @KalaRavi16
    relaxnrave.blogspot.in

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    1. It is worth the watching - and I didn't suffer any ill effects from either one I viewed. Just don't look into the eclipse except during absolute totality and you will be fine.

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  16. Alana, this is interesting to know. That would be really nice to see. I'm in Knoxville, TN. Columbia, SC is a reasonable drive for us, but I'm sure it won't be one we'll make just to see the ellipse, though. I will definitely note the event and perhaps, we can glimpse a peak of it from the Smoky Mountains. I hope you guys get to make a family vacation around this next year.

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    All Things Vintage: Elvgren Art #AprilA2Z

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    1. I hope you are able to find a place to view it. I see that Knoxville is just outside the eclipse zone, but in Nashville, you would be in a good location. No need to go to Columbia! Good luck!

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  17. I only saw one solar eclipse and I thought it was sort of eerie. Now I would like to see anther one.
    Coffee is on

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    1. I am not sure how far the band of totality is from where you live but I do hope you can get to see this one.

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  18. So neat that you had an eclipse experience as an astronomy student. My first was with my 5th grader son for his school project. Sitting side by side with a huge box over our heads we watched the eclipse through a pin hole. The next day our local newspaper featured a picture and headline....'Two Box Heads Watch Eclipse'. A good one for the scrapbook, and an A+ on the project.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. That's fantastic, Sue. Did you keep the newspaper?

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  19. You'll have to do a post on it when you see it Alana - we get eclipses in Australia every now and then and I'd be interested to see if yours is any different :) Leanne @ cresting the hill

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  20. After reading your post today, I feel as though I have experienced the site of an eclipse. Thought maybe I'd finally see one last month, but we were all clouded over in Honolulu. Thanks for sharing our experiences.
    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge
    Theme: The Fun in Writing
    E is for Eastern European Ancestors
    #IWSG

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  21. Watching an eclipse is not considered auspicious so I don't really follow them closely

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  22. This brings back a lovely memory. My grandfather worked as a meteorologist, and as a student, he built his own telescope (which is how he met my grandmother).

    My favorite picture of him shows him with the telescope and a partial eclipse - which happened one year on my birthday. His grin was brighter than the sun!

    (And in a coincidence, they were living in Columbia!)

    @dSavannahCreate from
    dSavannahRambles
    #AtoZChallenge2016 theme: dSavannah Defects

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