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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – POST ECLIPSE

Sunlight lit up the hotel room as Gary pulled back the curtains and exclaimed, “Look at those clouds.” I laughed. Today is the one day where nobody cares about the weather. I wouldn’t mind going through a whole day without watching a weather report.

What’s the world like after a total solar eclipse? Pretty much like it was before. Even just 24 hours later, Michael said that it felt like the Moons encounter with the Sun was a week ago. Ginger got home to California and started to feel an emotional low. “It was so incredible, and now it’s hard to process everything.”

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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – ECLIPSE DAY – August 21, 2017

I asked Michael what he thought of his first total solar eclipse experience. I ran a planetarium for 35 years, so he put it in that perspective for me. “It was like a natural laser light show.” he began. “I barely looked through the telescope. You have to immerse yourself in everything around you; the dark sky and the 360° sunset. It made me feel truly small in this vast universe.”

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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – DAY EIGHT

They came. They came in cars, and trucks, and jeeps and RV’s, some pulling trailers and some pulling campers. They represented all ages from children to teens to adults to seniors. Across the flat plain they set up cities of nylon and aluminium and wood and plastic. Some contained aligned structures of optical glass to peer into the universe. They all arrived with dreams of seeing the most spectacular sight of nature; a total solar eclipse.

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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – DAY SEVEN

Do we go or do we stay? That’s the tune for the day as we reach our weather decision deadline. We had a teleconference with Adam Jones, our Colorado meteorologist. Galveston, Tennessee he says has a 100% chance and western Idaho and eastern Oregon have 95%. His prediction for our site include some high clouds which may or may not block totality. The weather wouldn’t be any different until we get at least 300 miles away. However, the odds are still in our favor, and today he gives us a 75% chance of seeing totality…

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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – DAY SIX

Preparations are set in town and at the Park, as both are just waiting for the people to arrive. I imagine the situation is the same all across the eclipse path. People will start to arrive this weekend with the great masses pulling in late Sunday or early Monday for a glimpse of totality. I have friends all along the eclipse path. Oregon, Idaho, western and central Wyoming, and we’re in eastern Wyoming expecting another 26 people (most arriving Sunday). Other friends are setting up sites in western Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina. I wish them all clear skies, and I’m looking forward to sharing stories and images of their eclipse pilgrimage.

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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – DAY FOUR

Yesterday afternoon we loaded and secured our gear into Yurt 4 as a tremendous storm approached our position. The picture of the storm would’ve been perfect with a few lightning strikes below, but apparently that wasn’t Mother Nature’s plan even though we heard the roar of thunder echo constantly across the valley. Today when we arrived it was a completely different story. The sky was beautifully clear and as Gary and I set up our telescopes we practiced on the Sun. We’re ready. Is Mother Nature?

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Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – Day One

Two minutes and 15 seconds. A lot of conversation and planning for years has been spent preparing for those few fleeting moments. It’s called the Great American Eclipse, the first total eclipse to fall across the continental United States since 1979 when the path skirted a few northwestern states. It is the first total solar eclipse to go from sea to shining sea across our country since 1918. Due to its accessibility it is being touted as being the most watched eclipse in the history of the world.

Moon stuff…

A silver metallic Moon has shown up at my bedroom’s window.

Its hidden through a veil of grey thin clouds, which seem to be pressing against the jagged mountain line in straight horizontal banding. She, who used to be a huge and round disk of bright light, is now smudged in all directions, with charcoal of darkness.

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The sky of June – The Rising of the Galaxy

Out I went and nothing prepared me for what I saw that night. On the pitch dark sky of Wairarapa, with luscious hills that hold the horizon in sweet curves that rest the eye, a luminous whirlpool of stars was erupting from the east. Silver river of stars, one of its arms was meandering the eastern horizon in oval arched loops like an octopus’s arm that passed a Southern Cross marking the 12 o’clock position on the celestial time keeper of the south. The galactic arm was thinning down towards the western horizon and righteously so as the further we go from Scorpius and Sagittarius, we are actually looking towards the outskirts of our galaxy, where fewer stars venture. I stood there in silence watching the slow rising of the Galaxy and I realised that it was for the first time in my life when I was truly seeing it with my eyes.

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The sky of March – The Shining Ones

At the fringe of our milky city of stars, on the north-western horizon, the Pleiades, the Shining Ones (Te Tawhiti) are preparing for the journey to the underworld. They are to disappear shortly behind the Sun and will stay there for a while.

And the explanation goes that since people of old did not really have an explanation about space, in trying to figure out where exactly the Pleiades went, they invented a underworld. This is probably one of the reasons why this group of stars is so linked to stories of death, rebirth, and ancestors, and used to mark the beginning of the year in some cultures.