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Total Eclipse of the Sun

Last weekend Cheryl and I made a little trip to Idaho….. I have been wanting to see a total eclipse of the song about as long as I can remember…. I think that line from the song “Your So Vain” is where it started, and then as my interest in science grew…..

So, back in the spring I discovered that we were having this awesome eclipse right here in America. I researched and decided that for me, the Boise Idaho area had the best combination of good viewing, soutwest airline access and restraint on lodging prices. I reserved a hotel in town, reserved a rental car and booked a flight. Boise was not directly on the path of totality so we would have to drive into the area the morning of….

Last month upon further research I settled on the town of Smiths Ferry. A church there was reserving parking spaces in a field so we were guaranteed to have a place to watch the eclipse as long as we could get there.

So, after the WAVE race on Saturday we headed down to Burbank and hopped on a plane. The first sign of something unusual was the Burbank parking lot had only 2 spots left when we arrived.  We flew to Las Vegas and changed plans going to Boise. We arrived there about 9pm. The rental car agent lady scared us with tales of impending difficulties. She said they had declared a state of emergency. That there would be great difficulty driving, even tonight heading to the hotel, that we should prepay for gas as the stations would likely sell out over the weekend…. We did prepay for gas, but the rest remained to be seen.

There was NO traffic going to the hotel. Sunday morning we had a leisurely drive to the Boise Botanical Garden:

Next we drove to Smiths Ferry. We figured to do a reconnaissance run and check it out. There was NO traffic getting there, but the people at the lot did recommend getting there very early Monday morning. We drove back to the hotel and weighed our options.

We decided to go right after midnight… the ultimate play it safe move. Our hotel gave us some blankets so we could stay warm as we slept in the car. It worked. We got there and had a nice little sleep, until about 5:30 when everyone else started arriving. In retrospect, we could have slept in and drove in. There were no big issues between Boise and Smiths Ferry before the Eclipse….

The place we were was a big field of straw or something that had been mowed and made into a parking area. Several rows had people camping for the weekend and the rest was for us who drove in for the day. There were people from all over the world. I spoke with a couple from Europe and met others from all over the USA. There were some obviously from Asian countries as well. Waiting for the Eclipse we just relaxed and got in some walking.

As the eclipse began I tried to photo the sun. I put my Solar Viewing glasses over the lens and gave it a shot. I got a blurry yellow blob. I tried again as the partial eclipse grew, but they all came out the same. The eclipse was not visible.  I tried pulling the glasses away from the phone and the eclipse came into focus. I did manage to get a pic or two that way.

As the total eclipse got closer and closer people around became more excited. The light began to become darker. The air cooled down – Cheryl put on a jacket.

During the last minute of partial eclipse I took this video. I was looking up through the glasses at the sun, and down under the glasses at the phone capturing the surrounding. At totality, looking through the glasses, the sun completely disappeared, leading me to exclaim, “It is Gone!”

Upon removing the glasses I looked up to see something that looked more like this!

image0000 (2)

This is not MY picture, someone with better equipment captured it and sent it to me….

It was AMAZING!  For more than two minutes we just stared at it. The sun was completely blocked by the moon. Only the sun’s corona, its outer atmosphere was visible. The sky was dark enough that a few stars became visible… again, I can’t really give it justice… It was AMAZING!

We did not wait for the whole process to reverse itself, we got in the car and attempted to beat the rush back to Boise…


to no avail… It took an hour to get out of the lot and onto the highway. It took 3 1/2 hours total to drive the 60 back into town….. but it was worth it.

Tuesday we went for a walk on the Boise Greenbelt.

Boise looks like a nice place…..

On the flight home I met a couple who sent me the above eclipse photo along with these partials….

You flew your Lear Jet up to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun…. The song is still stuck in my head….  The next one cuts from Texas up to main – 2024…hmmm

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August 2017


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