Metatalktail Hour: TOTAL ECLIPSE August 19, 2017 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! Monday is the total eclipse for much of the US, what do you have planned? Non-eclipse-chasers, antipodeans, and Old Worlders, what's up with your Monday?

as always, talk about whatever you like but avoid politics.

I keep wanting to say "Good Sunday morning, Australian MeFi" or whatever time of day it is somewhere else, but one of my deep dark secrets is that I can't do time zones at all* so I'm terrified that if I try I'll pick the wrong day even if I carefully triple check google and be like "Hello Thursday at noon, South Africa!" and look like a moron rather than just a rube.

*I am literally so bad at it I try to always make other people call me, including my mom one time zone over, because I never have ANY IDEA what time it is where she lives even though it's only one hour in some direction. Who even knows, it's a complete mystery.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:16 PM (260 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

One of the tropes in JD Robb's Eve Dallas books is that Eve doesn't understand time zones and why it isn't the same time in Europe (or Nebraska) as it is in New York. Then, after they have been explained to her a number of times and she finally begins to catch a glimmer that it is a different time in a faraway place, gets confused all over again when a tropical island due south of New York is on the same time.

For the eclipse, we're supposed to get 94% occlusion here, so I plan to step outside and look as shadows if it's not cloudy.
posted by Bruce H. at 5:26 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

... look at shadows ...
posted by Bruce H. at 5:34 PM on August 19, 2017

I guess I'm not very news-savvy because I didn't realize that a partial eclipse will in fact be visible where I live in southern Ontario (unless google is mistaken). So hey that's exciting! I'll try not to go blind from my office chair.
posted by janepanic at 5:36 PM on August 19, 2017

I'm supposed to get blood taken for further tests Monday Morning so I'm going to make sure it done before 10AM Pacific. We'll only get about 65% eclipsed way down here in Central Coastal California, but any loss of light I'll blame with "loss of blood".
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:40 PM on August 19, 2017

Events conspired against me and my total eclipse viewing so we will NOT be traveling for it even though we'd planned to for over a year. Traveling into eclipsemaggeddon with a baby seems a bit much, especially less than a week after moving, especially when I still haven't found our cooler, etc., so we couldn't really pack adequate supplies in case there's like no water, and getting stuck in an epic traffic jam for two days with three children seems ... unfun. Plus the kids start school in a new school district Tuesday and while in general I'm pretty laissez faire about missing school for educational events, I couldn't QUITE bring myself to think it was a good idea to miss the very first day in a brand new district.

Anyway we have our eclipse glasses and the kids' new school is actually hosting a meet-the-teachers-and-view-the-eclipse party in the school playing fields, so I think we'll be going to check that out!

Our rental house is slowly acquiring the comforts of home, and featuring fewer giant piles of boxes, although on Friday I had a full-scale decision-fatigue meltdown after spending two days deciding where to put things in the kitchen and I was like I CANNOT UNPACK ANYMORE I DON'T CARE WHERE ANYTHING GOES MY BRAIN IS SO TIRED. I like the house pretty well! It has really nice light, very bright and airy. And the windowsills are nice and deep which makes the cats very happy.

Once the kids are in school next week, I'm making my maiden run to Ikea. Pretty psyched.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:41 PM on August 19, 2017 [11 favorites]

I have a family friend who runs a planetarium, I was talking to him about trees as pinhole cameras for eclipse events. He says they teach that and you can take a colander outside, and the holes in the colander make like a lot of little pinhole cameras. I am sure that is interesting on a sidewalk, or on a piece of paper. He said loose weave hats do that too. So you get a whole lot of little eclipse crescents out of these items. I will give it a non look, since I only have really dark, dork, glasses no eclipse ones. Nevertheless. Hip, hip, hooray for the nature of things.
posted by Oyéah at 5:46 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I plan on watching with a few friends including my 93-year-old BFF Janet. We have safe glasses and a perfect yard for watching, and I will serve round, partially-eclipsed ice cream sandwiches (they're each minus one bite) with fresh ginger cookies and homemade lemon ice cream.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

When I was a kid, maybe 1st or 2nd grade, there was a full solar eclipse (Looked it up: Feb 26, 1979). I remember making pinhole viewing things. However, I *swear* that the deal was that you poked a hole in the cardboard and look directly at the sun through the pinhole. I hope I didn't do that. I lucked out this time and a friend had a ton of extra glasses. I got 5 pairs from her, which I'll be sharing them with my coworkers. We have planned an eclipse break.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:57 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm so excited about the eclipse! I was at the local children's museum last week and they were selling eclipse glasses for $3, so I bought two pairs on a whim. I'm so glad I did because they seem to be sold out everywhere now. We're going to get an 80% eclipse here. And in 2024, we're only going to be about an hour's drive from totality, so I will (hopefully) get to see totality then.

I remember seeing a partial eclipse in preschool or early in elementary school - based on my location, it was probably the one in July 1991 when I was six. I totally looked right at the sun (briefly!) too - I knew I wasn't supposed to, but I really wanted to. Six year olds don't always make the best decisions.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:04 PM on August 19, 2017

We are packing the Honda Odyssey for a road trip up to Nebraska ("Equality Before the Law" -- ooookay) so we will be heading out Sunday and boondocking somewhere north of the Kansas border and south of I-80.
We usually do a 24-hour road trip to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea for scuba diving, so it's more of the same. Catch a nap at a truck stop or 24-hour Wal-Mart, add more ice to the cooler of fruit and sandwich fixings. Peruse the AAA guidebooks and take detours.
I am mentally somewhere between "How many pairs of socks?" and "Got the Eclipser sunglasses, got a cooler of bottled water, got a folding chair and a battery-operated fan -- game on!"
Never been to Nebraska. Barely been to Wichita to help the youngest daughter pick up her new car. Did not like the 18-wheelers on I-35 headed back at night (I took OK-77 through the late-night countryside and was pleased).
No pressing appointments, so we will get home eventually. All is good.
And only 28 years until the August 12, 2045 solar eclipse in Oklahoma. Good times!
posted by TrishaU at 6:07 PM on August 19, 2017

I will be in Ye Olde Englande still, annoyingly, but on the plus side socialist medical care here is doing a good job of fixing me. Also annoyingly, technically there's a (very fractional) partial solar eclipse here which will be the fourth one I've seen; some pictures which don't reveal much from one of a few years ago.

Still, anyway, it's autumn, my favorite season here. Arguably the best time of the year for a stroll in the countryside, even as - or because - harvests are being gathered. Much straw is being baled and rolled, and a local chain ferry is back in operation so I can take a shortcut to various events in a few nearby villages. When I'm not in the pub talking to the dog.

I'm also discovering that I am just too old now to [retracted for legal reasons] in the middle of the night in a corn field. My pillow and sleep hold greater power. Oh, ageing.

I've just started a few new projects, some of which may or may not make it to the projects section of MetaFilter when there's sufficient content, especially as I continue to wind down much of the rest of my social media.

This thread is the eclipse thread now, but for completeness and linking and things...

Other eclipse stuff on MetaFilter
* There are some eclipse-anticipation comments in a very recent MetaTalk.
* Another recent MetaTalk to collate MeFites experiences.
* The IRL meetup on eclipse day at Carbondale.
* There's like a whole load of AskMe questions about the eclipse you might want to browse through to see if any MeFites near you are doing the eclipse thing.

If you can make the eclipse on Monday, then well done! If not, then (as the TV news today was very wrong in saying "once in a lifetime") try again perhaps in less than seven years if you are in the USA or Canadashire.
posted by Wordshore at 6:09 PM on August 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

We're starting the drive to Oregon tonight and I am crossing my fingers that all will go according to plan. If not - well, what's life without a little adventure?

I will have enough Clif bars and water to last for a day or two, just in case.
posted by invokeuse at 6:12 PM on August 19, 2017

And not eclipse related at all, my daughter is 17 months old and omg toddlers are hilarious. We've been trying to teach her how to blow kisses goodbye, and she's not 100% on the concept - she usually holds out her hand and wants me to kiss her palm. She also throws the most adorable mini-tantrums complete with stomping and it's SO HARD not to laugh.

kinnakeet, those ice cream sandwiches sound amazing!
posted by insectosaurus at 6:14 PM on August 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

I am not in the path of totality - we get something like 84% or maybe 96% but I am taking the day off and may try to look at the eclipse through a cardboard box with pinhole, since there have been *no* eclipse glasses to be found anywhere in town (or in any of the next towns over) for the past week or more and I didn't decide to take the day off until Tuesday.
posted by dilettante at 6:19 PM on August 19, 2017

Also there are a lot of Europeans over in the US of A for this eclipse, so probably all other nationalities too and, yeah, it's gonna be busy and crowded.
posted by Wordshore at 6:32 PM on August 19, 2017

We're starting the drive to Oregon tonight and I am crossing my fingers that all will go according to plan. If not - well, what's life without a little adventure?

I will have enough Clif bars and water to last for a day or two, just in case.

Bring gas. There are a lot of gas stations around the state that are 100% dry at this point.
posted by curious nu at 6:41 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

We were in Oregon last weekend for a wedding and my wife decided to stay an extra week to visit her parents and see the eclipse. She baked almost two hundred cupcakes in an AirBnB for the reception so I think she deserves it. I am staying home to hold down the fort, but I think the office ordered a bunch of glasses so I may be able to wander out and see the partial up here.

I am actually planning more for the next one in seven years when it passes through Vermont. I'm hoping I'll take the plane up there and make a whole thing out of it.

I spent two hours making egg salad the other day because I have a problem apparently. I wanted to make mayo with hard cooked egg yolk (which is apparently possible, Julia Child says so) but I could not get the damned thing to emulsify. Apparently McGee says it'll end up a little grainy and leaky but I'm not satisfied and may need to play around with it. I abandoned it this time, though, and made a regular mayo which I added to hard cooked eggs which I sent through the food mill and mixed with a bunch of herbs and just a little bit of curry powder. And some half-sours I made a couple weeks ago. It was a good egg salad.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:46 PM on August 19, 2017

We only have one pair of eclipse glasses and since I will be the only one out of the house (work) on Monday, I won't get to see it unless someone at work a)has a pair of eclipse glasses and b)shares with me. I'm okay with it. I really like the shadows during eclipses and we won't have totality anyway so no biggie.

We have a big work event Monday night that should be over by 7:00pm so I told my rising Senior that she could invite her friends over to decorate the windows of their cars (if they have one to use; the ones who don't are still coming over to participate) and to have ice cream.

My son goes back to college next weekend and I doubt he'll ever live at home again for any length of time so I've been trying to savor the time with him this summer. I was the stay at home parent for 16 years so this serious change in my role is hitting me hard. I'll have an empty nest this time next year and while it's not going to be sudden by any means (summer camps, foreign exchange trips, one kid in college already), it's going to hurt. A lot. I'm trying to grieve a little every day now so I don't go into a serious depression when it actually happens.
posted by cooker girl at 6:58 PM on August 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

A friend is the director of a small public library in rural Florida and they have been super-busy dispensing eclipse glasses to the many.
posted by Wordshore at 7:06 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm in my hammock at my campsite in the path of totality in Oregon. Traffic here wasn't a problem at all (who knows what it'll be like on the way home). Now to figure out where, in walking distance from here, to be on Monday morning.

Any advice in that regard? I want the openest view I can get, right?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:07 PM on August 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

We're currently in a Marriott in Roanoke, VA. Tomorrow we drive to Nashville. Hopefully traffic won't be too bad tomorrow but basically everyone in this hotel is heading there so I'm a bit concerned that things are going to be totally nuts there even on Sunday.

We left Boston Friday night and stayed in New Haven last night. Today we did the Skyline Drive and parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was nice, but it made for a very long day on the road.

Tuesday we'll drop my wife off at the Louisville, KY airport so she can fly home and then my son and I will continue across Kentucky and Ohio, spending a night in Cleveland, before driving back to Boston on Wednesday.

I've never done a road trip this big. I'm driving through some states (and all four Commonwealths!) that I've never been to before.

I am *super* excited for this. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, weather can change and traffic may be nuts, but if all goes well I may actually see this thing and possibly even photograph it. We'll see. I've been an astronomy nerd for a long time and never really thought I'd get the chance to see a total solar eclipse.

I've got glasses, a solar filter for my long lens and a homemade filter for my video camera. I have a few extra pairs of glasses, which I plan on giving away to anyone nearby who needs them. I've got an eclipse timer app.

Photos are secondary. My main goal is to just take it in as much as possible. I'm hoping to have everything set up so all I have to do is press my camera remote a few times while I'm looking up.

Good luck to all of you heading for totality, and to those who will have a partial eclipse, I sure hope you make the effort to get out and (safely) look at it. It will be worth it.
posted by bondcliff at 7:16 PM on August 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'm just hoping we won't have an overcast morning here in the Bay Area. It's hard to tell by the forecast. I'm planning on stepping outside and looking at the shadows. I didn't even bother trying to get eclipse glasses -- I might just punch a hole in an index card. That's what I did for the transit of Venus, and I was perfectly satisfied with that.

I'm kind of sad that we won't get to experience totality, but I freak out in large crowds and traffic (and I'm already going through sort of a breakdown), so maybe it's for the best.

My neighbors are throwing a party with the loudest bass I've ever heard. It's rattling our windows.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:43 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Was half-expecting my iPhone weather app to show something besides the full sun icon for Monday. Turns out no.

We got threatened at work with a bit over-the-top email that there will be NO VIEWING OF THE EVENT whether on a break or not, eclipse glasses or not, at any work site within the industrial area!!!!!!ONE! I think they were going for two things - a) if you damage your eyes don't even think about calling that a workplace injury, we ordered you not to look, and b) I don't want to hear any "we lost some schedule yesterday because, well you know, the eclipse" excuses on Tuesday. But it was comical the way it actually read as if there will be someone out there taking names and writing people up who happen to look above horizontal while walking on the sidewalk to another building.
posted by ctmf at 8:03 PM on August 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm on the wrong side of the world for the eclipse, but I have to get my car's semiannual inspection on Monday and that's nice I guess?

To continue my good news/bad news from the previous thread, I have this to offer. Bad news: my wife's uncle's butcher shop went out of business. Good news: he had a ton of meat to get rid of and I now have a freezer filled with meat. Yay!

To be honest, I have never met the guy and doubt that I ever will, so the bad news is more like bad for him and all good for me. Like really good. I plan on throwing some samgyeopsal into my recently purchased air fryer and having a killer dinner. Hooray for pork belly from belly up businesses!
posted by Literaryhero at 8:31 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

My little brother was born during the total eclipse in 1994. I keep suggesting to him that he shield himself during the upcoming eclipse so that he will not reveal his true form until the world is ready.

Although I'm out of the path of totality, I'm planning to spend some time at a local florist's in the hopes that a strange and interesting plant will appear.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:39 PM on August 19, 2017 [19 favorites]

"My little brother was born during the total eclipse in 1994. "

YES! I have a friend whose due date is the 22nd and I keep urging her to deliver on the 21st during the eclipse so her child will have a portentious fate.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:41 PM on August 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'm going to work. On the west lawn they have a viewing party with free eclipse glasses on a first come first serve basis. Likely, I'll spend the eclipse though curled in a ball under my desk hiding from people who want me to run more numbers for them... data zombies...
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:54 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

My dad, who is 73, has been promising for several years to "hang on 'til the 2017 eclipse" despite being in somewhat rough shape. He's in agony from a potential slipped disc and can barely hobble from one room to the next. Somehow he is still insisting that I drive him & the kid up to Madras, OR tomorrow to sleep in my vehicle in a 10x20 car camping spot. I think there might be enough room for one lucky individual to put up the cot and sleep in only mild misery. Somehow I'm still excited. I just hope he doesn't take his earthly leave immediately after the main event. I don't want to have to strap him to the roof for the long ride back.
posted by diamondsky at 9:24 PM on August 19, 2017 [15 favorites]

Our sect will meditate as we await the rise of R'lyeh and the awakening of Cthulhu.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 9:28 PM on August 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

We'll get about 80% here. I picked up five pairs of glasses from our Public Health Department, and I will share the four I'm not using with whichever co-workers and clients show up in the parking lot. I mentioned that to my co-workers last week, and they had been trying to act all too-cool-for-school about the eclipse, but apparently my being excited about it gave them permission to be excited about it (or else they were just trying to suck up?). So some of them will probably join me in the parking lot. The peak is at 10:15 and I teach a DBT skills class at 10:30 and at least one of the DBT clients said she wants to join us, too.

I spent last night watching a disappointing performance of "Comedy of Errors" and I almost skipped the thing I had planned tonight, a pre-release party for a local singer/songwriter's album, and oh my goodness am I glad I went. She was amazing! She's probably not even 20 years old, and she's the daughter of one of my UU congregation-mates (?) and another UU family hosted the event in their backyard and the crowd was mostly from church, and we were all sitting in the backyard listening to this beautiful heartbreaking wise-beyond-her-years acoustic-guitar music along with foxes barking and crickets chirping and it was just so wonderful.
posted by lazuli at 10:13 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been recovering from an epidural for damaged discs on Wednesday, and am happily better enough to fly to Edinburgh tonight! There for 3 days with my parents to celebrate my dad's birthday, and they drove up so I can limit my walking. Off to London for another 4 days after that, by train.

Enjoy the eclipse if you are going! I was at Alton Towers (theme park) for the 1999(?) eclipse and it was awesome!

And Eyebrows, I am also terrible with time zones, I work with people one hour ahead and one hour behind and spend far too much time working out when to schedule meetings!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:13 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ooh ooh ooh, and my brother is moving to the West Coast! I am so excited! We've been all the way across the country from each other for over a decade, and now he'll be less than a two-hour plan ride away in Portland! This is relevant not only because it's good news but also because one of his few gripes is that he'll be in "wrong time." For reasons I've never quite been able to fathom, but I think have to do with a ridiculous holiday argument with my father, my brother hates times zones, refuses to believe they really exist, and just uses Eastern time ("right time") for everything. Like, he refuses to reset his watch when he's on the West Coast. (He's not uber-obnoxious about it, though, unless provoked into a rant.) So I think the move will be good for decreasing his stubbornness, too.
posted by lazuli at 10:26 PM on August 19, 2017

Rtha and I and close friends decided to make a long weekend of it, and are currently in a vacation spot on the Sonoma coast. A bit further north than SF, although definitely not totality. I think we're about 80% here. Plus fog, so we may need to drive inland. We have filters and glasses. Also a whole lot of liquor and food, so I think we'll be okay.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:46 PM on August 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

Camping plans fell through, so I'm biking up the hill to get a 99% eclipse and view of the valley. Ooh -- this reminds me to bring a hoody.
posted by klausman at 10:56 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm on my way home from a regional wedding in my home state and I'm just salivating at the prospect of getting in the front door. Currently loving just talking nobody but my immediate family. Kids have been if not delightful, at least appropriately contained on the flights so far, yay!
posted by smoke at 11:26 PM on August 19, 2017

There are no other MetaFilter members nearby, sorry. Also, no moons.
posted by pracowity at 12:01 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's coming up to 8.50 am in England right now. No eclipse for us, but we're in the middle of moving. First-time homeownership is weird - I keep wandering around the new place thinking "huh, I guess I own [leaky water butt the previous owners left outside] [cat scratch post nailed to the wall]". Also our mortgage lenders sent us a gift box of coffee/snacks/cleaning supplies, which was unexpected but pleasant. I've also been renting for so long that the idea I can just drive a nail into the wall wherever I like (within reason) is still baffling.

If anyone wants a sneak preview for Monday, here is my family during the 1999 western Europe eclipse (the taller of the two children is me) - this was taken at about 11am iirc.
posted by terretu at 12:47 AM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Seattle is getting 94% of the eclipse.

I got my eclipse glasses from the library three weeks ago.

I'm torn between going to an Eclipse Viewing Breakfast Party Thingy at the Sorrento Hotel, or getting Moon Pancakes at Denny's. Maybe both!
posted by spinifex23 at 12:48 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Trying to stay upbeat about the eclipse because I'd been planning for years to travel to a totality zone but life has conspired to deny me that. I might just turn the internet off for two days to let the event pass me by. But then I might miss the next episode of the worlds most intense reality show and I'd never catch up.
posted by Mitheral at 1:23 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

My daughter and I are meeting my son in Champaign early on Monday and heading south on 57—destination to be determined by traffic, i.e., we'll pull off for the back roads as soon as traffic starts to slow, if not before.

I really don't know what to expect. I've heard that Carbondale is expecting up to 200K, which is much less than I would have predicted, e.g., 5 million showed up in Chicago to celebrate the Cubs winning the World Series—granted, an event less common than a solar eclipse, but it's still just baseball.

I'm open to recommendations and/or warnings about downstate travel.
posted by she's not there at 1:23 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

A quick glance at notable eclipses viewable from either South Africa or the UK in my lifetime thus far indicates that I have either managed to be in the completely the wrong country to see them at the time or in the right country but nowhere near the bit that would be suitable.

I've not been able to do much of my preferred hobbies (knitting or crochet) for almost a fortnight as I have been suffering/recovering from a bad case of torticollis. Which I do not recommend getting shortly before having to travel from the south east to the north east on a train. But we had a lovely visit with my parents and I have started slowly doing small amounts of crochet while keeping a beady eye on how my shoulder/neck feel and it is going okay so far.
posted by halcyonday at 2:29 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've got 91% occlusion here so I'm gonna amble on out to my front yard. I reckon my travel time will be 45 seconds if I leave from upstairs.

I might make a pinhole projector if the mood strikes. Or I may just stand in the front yard and not stare at the thing.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:15 AM on August 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

Sorry to be the boring "everything is dangerous" old fuddy duddy here but here's how fast your retina could burn looking at the eclipse unprotected.
posted by Wordshore at 4:22 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am trying to figure out what to do in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It seems like a nice town in some ways. While I was in a pastry shop, though, someone came in looking for fresh bread (I'd asked about the same thing), and of course they didn't have any. They recommended a Great Harvest that was in the newer retail section of town. They did have a nice ciabatta roll for sandwiches, though.

I think this town is about the same size as the small town I grew up in, but they do have a lot of things that town didn't (plus radically different climate). Last night we discovered an amazing, but almost completely unpublicized, Japanese garden right on the river. They thave only been working on it since 2011, and the lady who masterminded the whole thing was there and talked to us about it and Idaho Falls for a really long time. She was incredible! The garden was absolutely unbelievably elaborate and gorgeous.

Her name is Judy Seydel. She is amazing. Here she is winning a national award for her work on the garden.

One thing: I would probably not bring a kid or anyone not 100% alert here. The highlight of the town is the river, which is incredibly fast and deep and steep-sized -- and goes over a hydroelectrically-harnessed waterfall in the middle of town_ -- but has almost zero guard railings. I saw a couple of signs warning that swimming could be deadly.

So, we're probably going to watch the eclipse from here, maybe near the river. A lot of people are driving from here to a town called Rexburg -- one would get an extra 40 seconds or so of totality.

Then, too, the forecast keeps going back and forth. We're here because it has historically an abundance of clear, sunny days (there will be guys from NASA here for the same reasons, which I did not know before deciding to come here). However, now, it looks like the forecast predicts "partly cloudy" for just the three-hour span around the eclipse time, and, having come quite far at some expense to be here, I'm not sure what to do about that, if anything.

I also visited the library here. It's lovely, and the reference librarian was awesome.

Everyone here is super excited about the eclipse and especially visitors.
posted by amtho at 5:08 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Public library eclipse glasses twitter is the best twitter.

I have no plans. My event horizin was my mom's Celebration of Life which is now over (and went great!) and I feel like I am in some weird timeless world and I'm just going to enjoy it for a while. There is only now and now is okay.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:50 AM on August 20, 2017 [24 favorites]

Time zones: You can do this in Windows 7, but I don't remember how. But in Windows 10, if you right-click on the clock and go to "Adjust date/time", then go to "Add clocks for different time zones" in the top right, you can add clocks. Then you can get a drop-down menu that looks like it's from Windows 7 and pick from ALL THE TIME ZONES. Then if you hover over the time it'll tell you the time in the other place(s), and if you click on it it'll tell you the other time just under the local time (including whether it's Today or some other day).

American Paper Optics, Eclipse Glasses Manufacturer, is here in the suburbs of Memphis. They opened up a pop-up store this week to actually sell glasses in person, but I had already re-ordered online from one of the other places, and they came in on Friday, so I can toss the sketchy refunded Amazon glasses. We're heading to Nashville this afternoon, to a hotel by the airport, and Somebody probably should've set up an IRL, but I'm probably just going to hang out with my family anyway rather than venture to meet anyone else.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:27 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I kind of didn't realize that where I live will get to 80% so I didn't even think about how I might plan to view it. I have several east coasters on my FB feed who are heading south to view it but I'm surprised by how few of my old Illinois peeps have mentioned any plans to get to totality, which is only 4 hours or less away for many of them. I guess I'll go out in my yard and see if it gets dark enough for the bats to come out or something. I don't think the horses will care much but I'm certainly not keeping them in the house to prevent them from going blind.
posted by drlith at 6:36 AM on August 20, 2017

Herr Vortex and I drove out to Wall, South Dakota yesterday from the Cities. We ran into some friends at a small diner in a small town and yep, they're on an eclipse pilgrimage too. We saw several cars with "eclipse or bust" style signs on I-90.

We're going to enjoy the badlands today and then get up at 3:00 am to get on the road to Nebraska or Wyoming. Right now Nebraska is looking better in terms of weather and traffic. We're going to Agate Fossil Beds Nat'l Monument, which does not have overnight parking and is open at 7am.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:13 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

We saw several cars with "eclipse or bust" style signs on I-90.

I was surprised not to see more on I-5 yesterday; only one "HONK FOR UMBRAPHILES!"
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:25 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am still on vacation for another week and honestly don't particularly care about the eclipse*, but it is a good reminder to not plan my Houston day trip till Tuesday anyway.

Today I am hanging around my house watching Babylon 5 in my howling wolf boxers, eating things, and I think eventually going to see a movie. I intend to relax, goddammit. Relax.

*this is just one of many ways in which I am a Terrible Scientist Nerd, as well as my lack of concern about composting and recycling compared to both spouse and roommate and my absolute disinterest in going anywhere I can't have a hot shower in the morning. Those are probably more about being a terrible ecologist, though.
posted by sciatrix at 7:39 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

No eclipse here, so here's something else that's to do with the sun: we are having solar panels installed soon! I'm pretty excited about this. Today I went up on the roof to drill some holes and put plastic pipes through them, so I'm actually involved and part of the process, yay!
Working on your own house rocks.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:46 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was planning to be happy with a 98ish% coverage, here in the wilds of Northern GA, but I have been invited to go with friends to a rooftop bar in South Carolina with full totality, so, beer + eclipse + socialization, yeah, I guess I can do that. Have my glasses and am combing thru my scrap metal box to make a nice pinhole so I can share if need be. I'm pleasantly excited. it. It feels like a weird little freebie holiday has been thrown into the middle of an otherwise bog standard August, which is fun.

I should remember to make sure my old Apple Newton is all charged up and the date set correctly so I can watch the cool little eclipse Easter Egg built into it.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:15 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, maybe 1st or 2nd grade, there was a full solar eclipse (Looked it up: Feb 26, 1979). I remember making pinhole viewing things. However, I *swear* that the deal was that you poked a hole in the cardboard and look directly at the sun through the pinhole.

I remember that eclipse. We made the pinhole things as well, but none of them worked (or we didn't know how to make them work, more likely) so we all just looked with bare eyes. As far as I know none of us suffered dramatic vision problems from it, though I now understand why that is a bad idea.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:30 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm planning to take my oldest grandkid to the eclipse in Madisonville, KY. I have to leave at 3:30am to pick him up at 5. Good times, I hope. Taking survival rations in case and have filled the car. Sunblock and big straw hat in the trunk along with the camera stuff and tripod, etc. Hoping to meet some online friends down there to share the experience.
posted by pjern at 8:34 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Personally I've given up on special glasses and am googling for braille keyboards
posted by sammyo at 8:48 AM on August 20, 2017 [8 favorites]

My youngest and I are heading out of Chicago sometime between 3:00 and 4:00AM. I am bringing her back east to school on Friday. I feel like this was her last summer home, at least as a kid. So we will be adventuring. I have the car full of gas, chairs in the back, thinking thru what else to bring. We road trip a lot and travel light, hopefully we get somewhere with a good horizon view but we will work with what we've got.
posted by readery at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Two of my distant relatives are evangelicals of some kind in Kansas. They are advising, in case it does turn out to be some form of the rapture after all, to wear clean/fresh underwear if you are in the path of totality tomorrow. They are seeing the eclipse on top of a hill with the rest of their congregation.

I'm going to enjoy filling out their Christmas card later in the year.
posted by Wordshore at 9:05 AM on August 20, 2017 [7 favorites]

If the Rapture happens, is the Almighty really going to care about the state of your underwear?

Having said that, I am always in favor of wearing clean underwear.

I've rescheduled lunch so I will be free during the closest-we'll-come-to-totality. They're opening up the deck on the top floor of our building, so I'll probably pop up there with my eclipse glasses. I bought extra, so I can share them with my co-workers.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:37 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Portland is getting something like 98-99% totality. Rather than fight traffic insanity I'm taking the morning off and walking to a nearby park to mostly take pics of leaf shadows. I might try one shot of the eclipse itself during peak coverage, although I don't have a filter so it'll be a fast and stopped-down shot - viewed only via the rear screen rather than the optical eyepiece, I'm not a complete fool despite what my friends say.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:13 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm fortunate enough to live just outside of totality and took the day (actually all week and part of next, for a number of projects) off, so a 30 minute drive and I'm there! Actually have scoped out several places and routes and based on cloud cover and traffic plan to drive about an hour to get close to the center of totality. Have a few other people with me so it should be a memorable time.

This is one of those things I have wanted to see for as long as I can remember, much like the space shuttle launch I got to see several years ago. I am interested enough in the whole thing that even if an unfortunate cloud comes over at the last minute I will still be happy. Plus, my brother actually lives in the path of the 2024 eclipse, so I already have a plan B unless he moves.

I guess I'll skip my usual request for a syzygy tag this time.
posted by TedW at 12:58 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Good luck; the National Weather Service is predicting 60-70% sky cover at 1 PM CDT, and a 50-60% chance of thunderstorms.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 1:23 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

My eclipse plans no longer include a drive to full eclipse. My good (elderly) neighbors' daughter is on hospice and they need my help with some things, which is way more important. These are good people and great neighbors which is a wonderful thing for me.

So, here I'll stay.

I have contingency plans. All is not lost; for I just provisioned myself with hot dogs and all the ingredients for making slaw and chili tomorrow. Tonight, I'll tap into my bottle of cheap eclipse celebration champagne and enjoy a rare night off from having to prepare for a workday. Yay! Mini 'vacation' of sorts.
posted by mightshould at 1:56 PM on August 20, 2017 [8 favorites]

I have errands to run Monday morning, then plan on being home for the actual eclipse. I have to drive about 1.5 hours to my alma mater for a Welcome Week event Monday evening and to prep for teaching a class on Tuesday. Gonna wait to get on the road until 2pm or so after the eclipse (driving DURING the eclipse seems like a not great idea) is mostly over and hope no one had a massive traffic-stopping accident during the eclipse.

Never got eclipse glasses, so I will either do the colander pinhole thing, or look under the trees, or something of that nature. I definitely want to be outside to experience the light changing though.
posted by MultiFaceted at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If the Rapture happens, is the Almighty really going to care about the state of your underwear?

In what was in some ways a crowning absurdity, in the Rapture books the Raptured left their outer garments behind and were assumed directly into Heaven in their underwear.
posted by jamjam at 2:06 PM on August 20, 2017

Drove over the NC mtns through Asheville this morning. Traffic significantly higher than thanksgiving, some miles of stop and go in Asheville. Full house here in totality-land and a popup for the kids.
posted by joeyh at 2:26 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, the confederate flag & fireworks store on the SC border was selling "2 minute eclipse shells" which took me some time to figure out and ... yeah.
posted by joeyh at 2:27 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If the Rapture happens, is the Almighty really going to care about the state of your underwear?

Whenever I hear that advice it makes me realize that a decent percentage of people on any given day are in fact not wearing clean underwear and need reminding.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:29 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

We moved house yesterday (and paid for the movers to pack, which is probably the best money I have ever spent on anything ever - they had the whole house packed and on the van in four hours, AND helpfully wrote 'KETTLE' on the box that had the kettle in it, which I have never once remembered to do in eighteen years of moving).

We are getting only a mere smidgen of eclipse tomorrow. I'm planning to spend most of the day unpacking, building Ikea stuff, wandering round saying things like "where's the thing that went on the back of the other thing? you know, the green one?", grumbling that I still can't find most of my clothes, and staring out mournfully at the ruins of my soon-to-be-rebuilt deck where the solitary potato buried in the rubble (whyyyyy?) stares back at me.
posted by Catseye at 2:31 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Have arrived at the pre-arranged cabin in the woods, outside Sumter South Carolina. Have begun the purification rituals and gather materials for the sacrifices that will be needed to welcome C'thulu to this realm once more.

Spending a lot of time in a hammock too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Well, the weather forecast for where I live tomorrow is Mostly Cloudy, so whether I have the right eyegear will be irrelevent... it'll just be interesting to see what "65%" between daylight and night looks like.

And here on the Left Coast, there is no danger of C'thulhu because the native otters will glom onto it and eat it all and appreciate the change from their usual shellfish diet.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:53 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Chatting with another camper outside the restroom, I asked if she happened to know a good place to be (there are a lot of trees here). Turned out that she's an astronomer, and that she was doing some demos and activities in the picnic shelter -- which were interesting and entertaining.

There are a lot more people here in the campground than yesterday, but it's stll all good (other than the wasps who tried to eat my franks and beans).
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:00 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

98% in suburbs of Atlanta. There are lots of trees near my house. A part of me wants to just stay here and check out the shadows, after hearing how many of you are leaving at unholy early morning hours.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:32 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Northern NJ. I got two dozen glasses (bought one pack on Amazon a few months back, but they shipped two), so I have enough for my office department and was able to share extras with friends. Someone on a town FB page sold 8 "extra" pairs they had for $5 a pop- and they went in a nanosecond! Looking forward to hearing stories from everyone in the path of totality!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:12 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Made it to Nashville! 1238 miles.
posted by bondcliff at 4:40 PM on August 20, 2017 [10 favorites]

Stopping four miles earlier would have been perfect.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 PM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

I took Monday off months ago thinking I'd head out to watch the eclipse. Then I started worrying about traffic and thought I'd stay home. Today, we bought a bike pump, chain lube, tire levers, a patch kit, and a couple of energy gu things and we'll be biking 28 or so miles from our house into the totality zone.

O. Bender walks 12 miles a day in his job but he doesn't ride much. I ride to work daily (7 miles round trip). So, this will be his work day x4 but on a bike, and mine will be 8x my commute.

I guess I'll go read those "I'm going to ride a half-century" threads on ask to figure out how to survive the day!
posted by vespabelle at 5:32 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am presently sitting in central Oregon with a cold Rainier overlooking the Deschutes River and within eyesight of the Oregon Observatory. My kids are total astronomy nerds and we planned this trip out a year ago. Things are a little crazy from Madras to Renton along highway 97 but not at all unmanageable and people are festive and excited. There's a wildfire in Sisters, OR that has made the sky a bit hazy; there should be no problem seeing the moon and sun, but if it doesn't clear up (they say it's going to clear up) it might obscure the stars coming out during the eclipse which I was kinda looking forward to. We actually have to drive about 15 miles in the AM to get to peak totality so we are getting up early to make sure we get the most out of this.

As it turns out, my eldest's first name is an old Sanskrit word meaning "sun." His name was on a short list we had picked out and after he was born we were holding him in our hospital room, completely falling in love with him as one does when the sun rose over the Cascades on a crystal clear day shooting like laser beams into the room after a long and difficult night. "Ravi" was the obvious choice for his name.

Our second child was more difficult to name. There are few South Indian boy names that are even remotely pronounceable to US people. We liked "Sashi" and when we discovered this also had a Sanskrit origin and meant "moon", it was the clear leader. Little #2 was born and he looked like a "Sashi" and so he became one.

So here are my own little sun and moon acting out their own version of the eclipse today, the day before they get to see it for real.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:03 PM on August 20, 2017 [22 favorites]

The eclipse will be total here in Lincoln, NE. My plans were bigger (party! Travel somewhere cool!) and then shrunk and shrunk again until I'm pretty sure we will just watch from our backyard. We won't get totality for quite as long as people further south but we'll have a full minute and a bit if the clouds cooperate.

80% of the staff of my museum took the day off and the others are going to be shooed out to watch it. Our prep department has already built a giant pair of eclipse glasses for one of our sculptures, which looks pretty amazing.

I spent the day driving a young foxhound to visit a potential adopter and everyone got along very well so Willow may have a new home in the next week, fingers crossed.
posted by PussKillian at 6:05 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm in Columbia, SC. Every business I've visited since I got here has a small hand-lettered sign noting that they'll be closed during the eclipse.
posted by Etrigan at 6:11 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I had a dream that the quidnunc kid decided to post an image of a terrarium in every MeFi thread. There was the "good" terrarium for good threads, which had much more foliage and better upkeep, and likewise the "bad" terrarium. However both terrarium glassfronts quickly fogged up and MeFi as a whole could no longer tell which was which in each thread.
posted by solarion at 6:19 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Kinda hoping for the Rapture, which I'm assuming will improve traffic conditions for me and my fellow left-behind heathens.
posted by she's not there at 6:41 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Here is a tool to see what the eclipse is like where YOU are. An internet pal made it. It's nice.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:07 PM on August 20, 2017 [10 favorites]

Portland's classical radio station will be playing an eclipse soundtrack from 8 to noon on Monday. I'll be listening at my desk for a bit, and will head outside around 10. I waited too long to acquire glasses, so will make a pin hole viewer tonight.
posted by terooot at 7:54 PM on August 20, 2017

From at least this past Friday thru today, I can report highway signs in the 80-percent-of-totality zone saying "Eclipse 8/21 - Plan Ahead - No stopping on highway."
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:58 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

My sister has reminded me that on July 20, 1963, our family were in the scorching hot parking lot of an old hotel in Nags Head, NC (this was long before aggressive development), delaying our departure for home after our vacation just long enough to watch a partial eclipse. We were the only people watching, and we did so using a pinhole and cardboard. I was five at the time, but do recall being annoyed at so much fuss over something that seemed so minor. It was not a big deal at all then, and nobody really paid much attention.

The contrast between then and now is dramatic. Seems even the sky is a reality show these days.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:11 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm in a high school football field. My tent is pitched. We drove 7 hours to get here. The amount of unusual traffic was zero. It's almost dark now and my husband is setting up the air mattresses and the kids are screaming on the playground. I am delighted.
posted by bq at 8:24 PM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

22 July 2028 is going to be so much better >:|

/sprinkles sugar on grapes
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:09 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Portland's classical radio station will be playing an eclipse soundtrack from 8 to noon on Monday.

What, no Dark Side of the Moon?!?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:22 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm in Asheville NC and we're going to get about 98% eclipsed, so no driving for me. I'm going to stand in the yard with my back to the sun and watch my shadow. My housemates will all be at work so it's me and the dog and the cat, and the animals don't care. However, the revised forecast now predicts about 45% cloud cover (up from 20%) and a possible shower here and there, with temp drop of about 15 deg. I'm also going to have the NASA link up. Then I think I'll have a nap.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:25 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm pulling my 4 year old out of preschool for the morning and taking her up on top of my building at work. We get 91% occlusion here and I'll probably miss all the best parts because I'll be too busy making sure she keeps her damn glasses on. #momlyfe
posted by potrzebie at 10:27 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Pastafarians, get your colanders ready!
posted by Oyéah at 12:08 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Whenever I hear that advice it makes me realize that a decent percentage of people on any given day are in fact not wearing clean underwear and need reminding.

I interpreted clean not to mean freshly washed, but more like you don't want to be wearing that overused moth-eaten underwear with the funky elastic and half a dozen holes in the crotch.

Not that I have any underwear like that.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:52 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Got up, fixed some tea, and put on Philip Glass' Akhnaten. If that's not a suitably portentous soundtrack for an eclipse-viewing day, I don't know what is.
posted by ardgedee at 3:18 AM on August 21, 2017

What, no Dark Side of the Moon?!?

I believe the "dark" side of the moon will be ... unusually bright during this time.
posted by quinndexter at 4:44 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Our prep department has already built a giant pair of eclipse glasses for one of our sculptures, which looks pretty amazing.

That sounds awesome, please post pics!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:30 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

We made the drive from Portland to Salem this morning. Left at 4:30, got here just now at 5:30. We only encountered a small spot of traffic on the way. We are now in a park on the edge of the city under a clear sky. We plan on staying for a good while after the eclipse to let traffic thin out a bit.

I am so excited!!!
posted by Lapin at 5:36 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

Here in Sioux Falls, we're having overcast stormy weather, with a slight chance of hail. So even though there's going to be a 90% or higher totality, it's just going to be a darker moment in an already dark day.

I pretty much expected this, it's just the nature of fate, so I hadn't made any big plans.

Have to get Cat 1 to the vet in under an hour for an injection and a pill, which will be her daily routine for a while.

I'm most anxious, though, waiting to hear about a job. I'm a self-employed craftsman, and have been struggling these last 2.5 years, and this job would put my little shop solidly into the black, and boost my reputation bigly.
posted by yesster at 6:11 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

posted by Wordshore at 6:59 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

begin report

So my daughter invited her boyfriend over to the house to watch the eclipse and very kindly said I could take *her* glasses to work since George would have his own pair and he would share and guess what I FORGOT THE GLASSES AT HOME DANG IT. But my coworker has some and said she would share so that's good. I found out that the zenith of our experience will be at 2:29:20, thanks to the fantastic website jessamyn shared above. I'm not sure my coworker believes me because she thinks the news channels have the best information and they're saying more like 2:40 and I'm like, dude, news channels ain't got nothing over internet science nerds and librarians.

posted by cooker girl at 7:08 AM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

My whole plan for today is to enjoy being Left Alone at work for once for a huge swath of the afternoon in which usually we're putting out a lot of nonexistent fires. Unfortunately, because so many people have taken off work today, I have to spend the whole morning until that point explaining to people that I am not on the part of the team that handles random errors coming up and that it needs to go to the (less competent admittedly) person who IS the only person here from that side of the team and get HIM to spin his wheels there.
posted by Sequence at 7:13 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter: news channels ain't got nothing over internet science nerds and librarians.
posted by Wordshore at 7:32 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh man, I've been looking forward to this for well over a year, and it couldn't have worked out better. Currently on an anonymous hilltop near a public park in Athens, TN, with a postcard-perfect view of the town and rolling landscape to the northwest. Not a cloud in the sky! Got the bona fide eclipse glasses and even a pair of binoculars ready for the big moment. Hopefully it's high enough to see the shadow coming in.

Makes me feel sorry for everybody who couldn't (or chose not to) come. I've been evangelizing like crazy, but most friends and family have work or don't think it's worth traveling to see totality. I did manage to get my mother to come with though, and my brother flew all the way out from Los Angeles after deciding against making the 12-ish hour drive to Oregon. (And I'm still a little frustrated with my former SAIC engineer uncle, who decided the 96% eclipse they're getting in Huntsville is "close enough for government work." No it is not! ARGH.)
posted by Rhaomi at 7:36 AM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

My husband and I also drove south this morning from Portland to a small park near Salem and arrived at 5:30. Sky is clear, lots of others here now and the parking lots are full. Enjoy the show everyone!
posted by FireFountain at 7:40 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

LOL of the day #1: Morning news host warning viewers not to try driving with their eclipse glasses on.

LOL of the day #2: Alabama football coach Nick Saban saying he was "unimpressed" with the eclipse hype and planned to just catch it on the Weather Channel... despite owning a lake house in the path of totality.

Also, is there a definitive source for eclipse times by exact location? This website is several minutes off the times given for this town on the local radio.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:46 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

We're planning on watching it right from the hotel pool. We don't have a view to the horizon but that's ok. I sort of don't want to attempt to go anywhere else in case I can't park and/or get stuck in gridlock.

Clear skies here!
posted by bondcliff at 7:57 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Overcast in the Bay Area. Wish we'd gone to Oregon, but apparently girlfriend is out of vacation days anyway.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:02 AM on August 21, 2017

Possibly the reason I find this so unimpressive is because I have virtually no visual memory? I have no desire to go places or whatever just to see things that someone else could take pictures of, and most things--if I go to the ocean I can have the memory of how it felt to be there, not just what it looked like. I live very close to the totality band, I could have taken the time off work, but why would I take the PTO for this instead of taking the PTO to go do something that would have actual meaning for me? If I'd had friends who wanted to do something as a group I would have gone, but there's no way I'd use PTO for this because it won't mean anything to me in a week.

But I recognize that if you were the sort of person where afterwards, when you wanted, you could summon up in your head how cool it looked when this happened--getting that memory might have real value. If I'm just going to be looking at photos that other people take either way, later, I'd rather be working. I do hope everybody else has a good time and good weather for it! Everybody here is hoping it'll clear up a bit.
posted by Sequence at 8:05 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

> Here in Sioux Falls, we're having overcast stormy weather, with a slight chance of hail.

I first read this as "a slight chance of hell," and it shows you what 2017 is like that I didn't even raise an eyebrow. "Sounds about right," I thought.

We're only getting a partial here, but my stepson took his family to the totality zone (they're awaiting the event in Guernsey State Park, Wyo., which looks like an amazing place eclipse or no eclipse), and my wife and I are jealous (though unwilling to go through the hassle of doing it ourselves).
posted by languagehat at 8:18 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

According to Precision Eclipse dot Com, eclipse is still about an hour and twenty away for me and the 91% maximum isn't for almost three hours. I'm safely ensconced at home and plan on heading out for a walk after the partial eclipse starts. Might walk down to the footbridge over the highway (less than 1km away) and see what happens to the traffic.

I don't have eclipse glasses. Just had eye surgery and am still pretty light sensitive so staring at anything besides shadows, regardless of the vision protection available, feels like a very bad idea.
posted by ardgedee at 8:56 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here is a link to the sculpture on our front steps, wearing his eclipse glasses.
posted by PussKillian at 9:06 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

The sun here has been totally eclipsed by the fog. It's a miracle. If only I had special glasses so I could look directly at the fog.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:29 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm ensconced in the Sorrento Hotel garden, eating fancy croissants garnished with bull's blood microbrews, and alternating between reading and watching the eclipse.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:38 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Now I have fog blindness. I stared too long at the fog, and now I have clear spots wherever I look. My god, everything is so clear and distinct! Don't worry about me too much - it will probably all fade back into blurriness in an hour or so. Remember kids - don't stare directly into the fog!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:46 AM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

I have no desire to go places or whatever just to see things that someone else could take pictures of

I have a decent visual memory but I feel the same as you. I'll make jokes about how I'm going to go blind and I'll go outside to watch it get dark but eh. The nice professional pictures will be cool to see afterwards and it's a nice break from the Trumpocalypse.
posted by asteria at 10:01 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's entirely fogged in here in the East Bay. I have managed to find a livestream which is not blocked by my employer, so I'll get a better view on my computer than I would have IRL...
posted by suelac at 10:03 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I plan on going outside the office to the underused green space/mall here in downtown cleveland in about 45 minutes during my lunch break to see with my handy glasses (thanks to the public library!) but I'm a little skeptical on its potential.

I remember seeing the one in 1994 [I was only 7 or 8] and it felt underwhelming although it could just be misremembered memories. Perhaps this is my cynic self, but a lot of this is driven by media hype and a subliminal desire for something positive and unique in our American lives that has been largely battered in recent months.
posted by fizzix at 10:10 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on August 21, 2017 [14 favorites]

posted by cooker girl at 10:30 AM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Once upon a time there was light in my life

But now there's only love in the dark

Nothing I can do

It's a partial eclipse of the heart as I'm outside the totality zone
posted by GuyZero at 10:32 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

Just past maximum here in Olympia, where we were at about 95%. The amazing thing is how relatively bright it still was outside, even with the tiniest little sliver of sun--I was expecting it to be darker--and how chilly it got, and of course the weird quality of the light. Now I'm wishing I'd sucked it up and gone down to Oregon, despite my hatred of crowds and traffic.
posted by Kat Allison at 10:34 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

So if it's really overcast and you catch a little bit of a sliver of the sun looking like the moon in daylight, will you go blind if you look at it? Asking for a friend...
posted by suelac at 10:34 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ah that was so cool. I want to go again! Who wants to meet up in 7 years for the next US one? :-)
posted by FireFountain at 10:36 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

We were in 98.9% totality. Got up early, made sausage panclipses (sausage patty with pancake batter poured around half of it.) Watched in the front yard on and off. It got cold! The dog got scared! At about 10 minutes to 'dark' we busted out the tequila and non-tequila Moonrises (oj with prickly pear juice.) It was a whole thing, guys! Crescent moonrolls and the Moon is Cheese crackers will be served this afternoon.
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 10:38 AM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

If you have trees around you, take a look at the shadow of the leaves cast on the ground during transit. You'll see dozens of little inverted eclipses peeking back at you. I just did it, and it was cool!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

at work as usual. i punched a hole in an old business card with a paper clip, so my eclipse viewing preparations are complete! will head outside in an hour or so to check things out.
posted by research monkey at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Word in from Brunswick, GA: overcast skies. 𝐒𝐈𝐆𝐇
posted by JHarris at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2017

That was the most amazing thing I have seen ever. I am agog. It over delivered. We drove 1200 miles for this and every one of them was worth it.
posted by Lapin at 10:40 AM on August 21, 2017 [9 favorites]

At about 10 minutes to 'dark' we busted out the tequila and non-tequila Moonrises

For beer people were there...Coronas?

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:40 AM on August 21, 2017 [10 favorites]

> -if I go to the ocean I can have the memory of how it felt to be there, not just what it looked like.

Why do you consider the memories of your feelings less important? An eclipse can be an overwhelming thing if you allow it to be, the entire world changes around you for an hour in a way that the world never looks at any other time. Even if you don't retain clear mental images of how that looked, you can still remember how you felt when it happened.
posted by ardgedee at 10:41 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

i punched a hole in an old business card with a paper clip
I'm using IBM punch cards.
posted by MtDewd at 10:41 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I shared my thumbtack with my boss, whose daughter had been a bit too enthusiastic when punching a hole in his cereal box. Success!

My cardboard box is less classy and I didn't cover the cracks but the pinhole works great anyway. More fun than the glasses for me. I won't see anything through the glasses that I couldn't see in a much fancier way on video later, but my cardboard box is all mine.
posted by asperity at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I walked to the park, where there was a sad crowd of people. But then the sun peeked out through some clouds, and we were able to see it pretty clearly. I just spent about half an hour staring cloud cover, with occasional glimpses of the sun. Was this dumb y/n

At least my glasses are UV proof.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just spent about half an hour staring at the sun through cloud cover. Was this dumb y/n
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk

Well, at the very least, you chose an appropriate username.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:50 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thick clouds and overcast in Minneapolis, with rain moving in, although it is darker than you'd expect for rain at this time of day (15 minutes to peak eclipse for us, 83%).

Minnesotans everywhere grimly nod, used to climate disappointment.
posted by castlebravo at 10:51 AM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Why do you consider the memories of your feelings less important?

Because I don't have strong feelings about this? If I'd had the opportunity to spend the time with people I really liked then that might totally have been different, because I'd have a memory of an experience, but I don't have that option, and the experience that's on offer is going and standing on the roof of a parking deck with the coworkers I don't like very much for the sake of seeing something that is going to be incredibly well-recorded. I dunno. I don't get it.
posted by Sequence at 10:57 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am sitting at my desk watching the Washington Post eclipse goat cam. I don't know why they've got a camera at a goat farm to see how the goats react to the eclipse, but I applaud this idea on principle.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:59 AM on August 21, 2017 [8 favorites]

Now, see, goats, goats I can get invested in.
posted by Sequence at 11:06 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm spending the eclipse arguing with mr. gerstle about what level of paranoia is appropriate in protecting our three year olds from retinal damage. I'm in favor of More Paranoia as always.

Eyebrows McGee did you move from Peoria???? I've never met you and I've never been to Peoria and still that is upsetting
posted by gerstle at 11:09 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just went out for my first peak! Amazing!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:09 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

We're only going to be about 75% here, but it's clear out and the Muesliviewer 5000 is ready to rock. Off to the roof!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:11 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

It was AMAZING and we saw solar snakes!
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:13 AM on August 21, 2017 [8 favorites]

I still can't believe some of my coworkers wouldn't even go outside to see, with clear skies and nice weather. It's gotten noticeably cooler as the eclipse progresses, which is pretty neat. 91% occlusion isn't nothing!

I would've shared my thumbtack.
posted by asperity at 11:24 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

The guy was out of crackers, and then he got more crackers. And then it got dark and the goats do not appear to care about anything but possibly crackers. The goats and I have so much in common.
posted by Sequence at 11:27 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Decided last minute to pull my kid out of class as many of his friends were being pulled out too. The six year olds all report that "IT WAS SOOO COOOOL!"

So for one brief moment today I feel like I'm winning at this mom thing.
posted by vignettist at 11:34 AM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

We had clouds on the approach in Nashville, but they cleared out with about 10 minutes to go. Saw it!! Totality seemed to last longer than 1:30.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:35 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I went outside with my coworkers in Schaumburg, IL. It's pretty cloudy so we weren't able to see much. The footage from Carbondale, though, was incredible.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:39 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I drove out of the fog and set up my digital camera on a tripod so I could watch it on the screen. The camera wasn't as good as I thought at auto adjusting, and never showed the sun clearly enough for the eclipse to be noticeable. So I messed with the settings, but nothing useful resulted. And since I was still in dense fog at about the maximum eclipse, I never experienced any disorienting lighting, because I was already moving through low visibility into bright sunlight. So basically, even though I spent considerable time pointing things at the sun and staring at them, I could not personally vouch that there even was an eclipse. Fake news. The Earth is flat, and is made new every morning out of solidified fog. Teach the controversy. All hail the glow fog. Do not stare directly into the glow fog. Your life might be eclipsed by vengeful ghosts.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:39 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Had a clear view of the 75% or so we got here in Toronto.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:40 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

We had a lot of peekaboo with cloud cover but saw most of the eclipse including a beautiful silver ring for totality with some pink highlights flaring around it. Super lovely. The cool dim light and the breeze was great. A tiny bit of whooping and applause from the small crowd at the park. I'm glad I made myself a part of this.
posted by PussKillian at 11:40 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Crescent shadows under the tree here now, and definite change in lighting and coolness outside.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:41 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think it got darker during the eclipse, but it's hard to tell if that was just a change in cloud cover. Now that the eclipse is over here, it is much brighter, but I think the clouds are also burning off. It was chilly, but this is the Bay Area, and it's always chilly in the morning.

Mostly it was fun to be in the park with everyone else. All kinds of characters. People from the neighborhood, college people, tech people, old Chinese lady walking with a very loud radio in her back pocket, people walking their dogs, assorted joggers and cyclists -- everyone kept stopping and staring up at the sky. When I first got there, everyone was sitting around looking very sad and bored, but then the sun made an appearance and people started shouting and laughing and having a good time.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:47 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Viewing was great here in Seattle, with clear skies and about 92% maximum coverage. We went to an eclipse party at a local library, made pinhole projectors and passed around eclipse glasses. The sudden drop in temperature was dramatic!
posted by mbrubeck at 11:47 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

We went to an eclipse viewing party at the library and it was really cool to watch the sun getting gradually more covered from 9 am onwards. We shared eclipse glasses with another family (and then when ours got damaged, a couple let all of us share theirs) and used a pinhole. I really liked being with an excited crowd. It didn't get dark exactly (92% here) but it looked first like having sunglasses on and then the light got even weirder. It got noticeably cold too. Pretty great for not traveling to the totality. (Also, one person in the crowd brought a colander and it turns out this is the most amazing pinhole viewer, dozens of crescents on the ground.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:48 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Perfect totality here with Tedw!
posted by joeyh at 11:54 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

That was so freaking cool! I've been texting back and forth with my sister and parents and trying to take photos since we were lucky enough to have partial cloud coverage here. The quality of the light was so strange- it was almost like I was wearing light tinted sunglasses.
posted by Mouse Army at 11:56 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Here are some crescent-shaped eclipse-shadows beside my office in Virginia.
posted by 4ster at 12:00 PM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

I guess my cooking skills extend from the kitchen to the driveway cuz my colander viewing didn't work well at all, here in 96% occlusion land. Way more fun was seeing the thousands of tiny crescents projected on the house by the evergreens. It got a bit twilighty, a touch cooler for a few minutes, some crickets kicked in for a bit, and yes, the cats could not care less about celestial phenomenon.
posted by wallabear at 12:11 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

That was one of the most uncanny things I've ever witnessed and I've lived through a couple of blizzards, hurricanes, and a flood. I'm a sucker for weird natural light and that definitely delivered.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

My home security camera reveals my backyard was full of crescent-shaped lights (and no burglars).
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:14 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Amazing. More later.
posted by bondcliff at 12:27 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:32 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I managed to get a couple interesting pics, and some nice shadows:
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:37 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Amazing. More later.

Huh. Is it going to cross back in the opposite direction, or what?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:41 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

We're in the path of totality and we were lazy so we just hung out in our back yard. Clear skies, so it was just fantastic. I saw the 1979 eclipse from a hilltop over Helena, Montana and the huge shadow rushing over the valley was breathtaking. The onset of darkness was less dramatic from our back yard, but there were lots of great shadow effects. We saw stars, too! Here's a crap video of some cool shadows on our back patio.
posted by gamera at 12:42 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Awww, the people I do supportive protests outside of Planned Parenthood (we're the good guys, we're protesting the protestors) were there as usual, and watched the partial eclipse together.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:49 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Anonymous Athens Hilltop got it SO GOOD. Crescent shaped shadows, temperature drop, dusky twilight, city lights down below, crickets chirping, and no clouds. Even saw (I think) a solar flare! And a paraglider (?) in the distance, who probably got a hell of a view.

Folks came prepared, too -- not just eclipse glasses, but sheet projectors, welding goggles, and huge drum-shaped telescopes on tripods. I also got some shots on the binoculars, and my brother got a delightful bit of video I'll share here later, but I'll have to battle the epic traffic back to Alabama before we can hop on wifi and break out the laptops for transferring everything. It's definitely worth a watch though, so stay tuned.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:59 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I watched the eclipse in the few minutes we have to wait for the pick-up line to move at my boy's school. A mom got three #14 welder's glasses and a blanket, another one brought diet cokes, and I brought a piece of carton and a paper clip and showed them the pinhole camera eclipse. 20 minute picnic next to a bunch of idling cars!

(hopefully I did not go blind today )
posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

> for the sake of seeing something that is going to be incredibly well-recorded.

It astonishes me that you think seeing a video is equivalent to having the experience; every single person who's had the experience says the exact opposite. But I'm sure you know best.
posted by languagehat at 1:17 PM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

I work at a coffee shop, and didn't plan to be able to observe the eclipse. But my boss is great, and bought us glasses and shut us down for 20 minutes to go outside and watch. It was phenomenal.
posted by Night_owl at 1:24 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hey not everyone processes things the same way, please don't feelings-shame fellow Mefites for crying out loud
posted by agregoli at 1:25 PM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

Say what you will of 45, but look at the last photo here and tell me he has not given a great gift to Devo-loving owners of Photoshop.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:28 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

As he did this, someone in a crowd of aides below shouted "Don't look."
But it was too late. He'd already been Mooned.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:39 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Decided not to drive up from Atlanta after seeing how many people were posting on Facebook that they were going and remembering how much I can't stand traffic. (Or didn't explicitly say they were, but happened to be in St. Louis or Kansas City or Nashville or somewhere else on or near the path when that's not where they ordinarily are.) My friends probably skew (a) flexible-job (b) money-having and (c) nerdy, so this is not exactly a rigorous sample. Still, since I do not like people, I decided to stay home.

Since I was the one with the foresight to order glasses, lots of friends came over tonight and this morning to get some. I think I now have some small idea of what drug dealers feel like. Worked from home (because I'd rather see this at my house with someone I love than in a soulless office parking lot with people I tolerate), checked out trees doing weird things, got out there and worshipped the Flying Spaghetti Monster with my colander. The kids who live across the street thought that the very sharp light resembled some Instagram filter, which made me feel old. Sadly we neglected to make sure we had food, so I was dispatched just after first contact to get burgers. Wendy's was playing "Here Comes The Sun", which is exactly the wrong song for that moment.

Perhaps I will plan better for 2024. That one passes over my in-laws' house in southwestern Arkansas. (Sadly my in-laws are getting old and might give up that house, but I imagine at least we'll still know people in the area.)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I made two pinhole cameras and brought them into work. After I had a good look, I offered them for general use. I'm a hero. Well, first everyone laughed and was too cool for school, but now I'm a legit hero of the office.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:47 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

That was really really cool. Already planning for 2024, and also thinking about centering future overseas vacations around eclipses.
posted by rockindata at 1:49 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ok, now that I'm back in the comforting blanket of wifi...

1. Words absolutely fail to describe this thing.
2. I totally get why people fly all over the world and charter boats to the middle of the ocean to see this. It was worth every dollar and hour I spent to get here.
3. I was surprised that the brightness of daylight didn't change much until we were way past 90%. I'd say the *quality* of the light was noticeably odd for about 45 minutes, but the dimming of daylight was obvious for only 20 minutes or so.
4. Once we hit totality and took the glasses off, the sun and moon looked so close you could almost touch it.
5. The difference between totality and 98% is far greater than the difference between night and day.
6. We did get to actually see some stars.
7. The animals of the high desert in Oregon did not act appreciably different, although my dad texted that the insects in Illinois all stopped chirping. I suspect this has to do with the fact that it got about 15 F colder.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:51 PM on August 21, 2017 [17 favorites]

FYI, for those of you who were under overcast or stormy skies:

It doesn't get as dark under cloud cover as it does under clear skies. That's because the cloud cover acts like a glow screen (the edge-lit boards that bars and restaurants write on with colored markers, so they glow). Light from many many miles away conducts through that cloud cover.

It would have been a lot darker here in Sioux Falls if not for the hundreds of miles of cloud cover.
posted by yesster at 1:56 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

And, I have a request.

As much as we sometimes dislike the Internet Of Things, it would be really great if all of the streetlights and security lights were intelligent enough to not turn themselves on during an eclipse.

Stupid light-detection switches ruin things sometimes.
posted by yesster at 1:58 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I watched the eclipse in the few minutes we have to wait for the pick-up line to move at my boy's school. A mom got three #14 welder's glasses and a blanket, another one brought diet cokes, and I brought a piece of carton and a paper clip and showed them the pinhole camera eclipse. 20 minute picnic next to a bunch of idling cars!

This sounds awesome! Next time maybe turn the cars off, though. Many states have anti-idling programs such as this one, suggesting ways to do data collection and measure changes. More science in the pick-up line!
posted by asperity at 2:07 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, that was a hell of a thing. Can we do that every day? Maybe once a month or something?

I was lazy and didn't get the photographs I really wanted to get and that's fine. I wanted to try to bounce crescents of light around with mirrors for some nature macro shots or landscapes or something, maybe an odd looking self portrait.

I ended up down at the water front with a small party on one of the public wharfs, and there was a lot of impromptu pinhole making and viewing, glasses sharing, and some general science discussions. Nothing forced but just easy natural answers to what was going on.

At a hair over 92% totality all in all I had a pretty profound experience and lovely day with almost zero investment, so I'm good with that. I got to have a relaxed bike ride in some very strange light, and watch all the nature and wildlife around me freak out.

The seagulls were likely the most confused and they deserve it. I also saw a lot of fish along the water come out of the shadows and surface for feeding, and they're usually in tight balls or schools in the day or hiding deeper. Lucky for them the seagulls and other sea birds were apparently far too confused to try feeding on them. There was very much this sense of nature going "What the fuck is going on!?" and calling a truce and being too confused to take advantage of the situation.

What was most interesting to me was the light and shadows. Things got really weird with light polarization off the water and colors of everything, and how every shadow and shadow's edge was just totally wrong and weird looking. Even squares ended up with weird fillets and convex points in the corners.

With all the strangeness to the light, shadows and colors there was a very hyper-real feeling to everything, like being in a rotoscoped animated film like A Scanner Darkly. Like you could almost palpably feel that the interplay of light and shadows and the natural lensing effects of objects like your own body was just weird and wrong.

Another fun effect was looking down into the water column directly opposite the sun. Those shimmering beams you normally see radiating out around your shadow - which are caused by the lensing effects of the ripples and waves of the water and reflecting back at you from particles in the water - these took on a very strange sort of twisted effect as those beams of light in the water column formed oddly shaped crescent beamlines instead of more circular ones. That combined with whatever weirdness that was happening with the polarization of the light with whatever normal natural polarization with the water gave it some very strange, unusual colors and... for lack of better words, some very strange photon interactions and effects. Like some of the lighting effects took on a definite shimmer that was more like the specular almost holographic light of a coherent laser than polarized incoherent mixed light.

I can also see why eclipse chasing is totally a thing. Totality itself must be deeply weird and overwhelming, especially the ability to view it naked-eye.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2017 [9 favorites]

I discovered the Achilles' heel of autodimming welder's masks today. Mine dims all the way to 13, which is sufficient for viewing the eclipse. However, when the occlusion reaches 85% or 90%, the photodetector is not receiving enough radiation to keep the autodim function triggered, and as a result it started flashing undimmed sunlight through the filter. Boo. Worked great the rest of the time, though.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

My son works at a restaurant, and sent me an "eclipse" video of a breakfast sausage patty on the end of a skewer being slowly passed over a fried egg (sunny side up of course). I thought it was even more entertaining than the real thing.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:14 PM on August 21, 2017

My totality photo. But I like the diamond ring better.

This was a bucket list for me. I can't describe the experience of it all. Everyone should witness one.
posted by bondcliff at 2:17 PM on August 21, 2017 [15 favorites]

I remember my first eclipse (the annular eclipse of May 30, 1984). So cool of my pre-K day care to take the students to the Greensboro Science Center, entirely in the path of maximum occlusion. My favorite part was how much darker it got, and how the crickets started chirping, and how the light dappling through the leaves made crescents on the ground. I do remember being told not to look at the sun at any time though—I expect that's because it was an annular eclipse, and why so many people my age still think "no looking at the sun ever."

My best man lives in the path of totality today, and I got a stream of text messages telling me how indescribably awesome the experience was. Looks like I need to make plans for the wife and me to meet up with him for the annular eclipse of 2023 and the total eclipse of 2024.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:19 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, that was a hell of a thing. Can we do that every day? Maybe once a month or something?

Perhaps we should revisit the global shield idea, a really huge super thin panel orbiting to block the sun cooling what's below. At only 60% the temperature change was significant, over the course of years could we "fix" climate change? I'm pro Mars colony but a shield may be a better short term project, yes sounds crazy but would a $100 billion be better spent on space or dikes?
posted by sammyo at 2:31 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Perhaps we should revisit the global shield idea, a really huge super thin panel orbiting to block the sun cooling what's below.

This is what sulfur dioxide in the upper atmosphere is intended to achieve; scattering of incoming solar radiation, with the added benefit of being very reversible (falls out of the atmosphere within a year or two). Of course, geoengineering like this is troubling because it could potentially disrupt the climate in unforeseen ways, and won't correct any other climate change issues (ocean acidification, etc).
posted by Existential Dread at 2:37 PM on August 21, 2017

Total bust here in Las Vegas for the eclipse. It got very overcast during the time period and we did not get to see much of anything at all. Everybody was lined up out here in the desert but depending on where you were, most of the valley was cast in the shadows from clouds, not the other way around.

Well the next one here in the Americas looks like it will be in 2024. See you then !
posted by Thecrateguy at 2:43 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My distant relatives didn't get raptured from the hilltop in Kansas, according to a private FB post from one of their disappointed congregation. Nice picture of them all holding hands in a circle and looking at the sky (wearing glasses)(and probably clean underwear but I'm not asking, just lurking on there).

Over in Seattle, the Library Applications and Systems Manager of Seattle Public Library tweeted a few pictures of the city at 92% moonout. And then went to vote for a cat or something; I presume this is a Seattle thing.

While over in Ann Arbor, the public library got fully in on the whole eclipse thing.
posted by Wordshore at 2:50 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

My distant relatives didn't get raptured from the hilltop in Kansas

Well. Can't say as I blame 'em for trying.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:25 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My son works at a restaurant, and sent me an "eclipse" video of a breakfast sausage patty on the end of a skewer being slowly passed over a fried egg (sunny side up of course). I thought it was even more entertaining than the real thing.

I saw a video simulating an eclipse with cats, with a black cat passing in front of a white cat.

I could have done that with my cats - and actually thought of that joke this morning! - but I didn't make the video. I totally should have, everyone knows the Internet loves cats.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:30 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been surprisingly neutral about this whole thing (although I appreciate the enthusiasm of those who've been excited about it). Anyway, at work today in the Chicago suburbs where I think we were at nearly 90%, one of my teammates brought an official pair of glasses and about six of us went out and took turns with them. I may or may not have squealed out loud when it was my turn. Pretty cool!
posted by bookmammal at 4:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

This sounds awesome! Next time maybe turn the cars off, though. Many states have anti-idling programs such as this one, suggesting ways to do data collection and measure changes. More science in the pick-up line!

Yeah the idling cars thing is an issue for me too. When the weather pemits, I turn my car off and just read for a while. But here in northern Mexico, we usually pick up the kids in 100 degree-ish weather (normally 35 up to 42 degrees Celsius) so turning the car and A/C off means practically melting in there, even with the windows open.

Some schools here have guidelines about turning cars off, but mostly not in the summer.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:19 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My campground in Oregon has gone from about 150 people camping last night, to my family, another family, a local family here to swim, and some young people who are too drunk to drive back to LA. The young people have the $250 sleeping pad I've been desiring. Should I steal it y/n
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:32 PM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

I saw a video simulating an eclipse with cats, with a black cat passing in front of a white cat.

Yes! It's the best. Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:42 PM on August 21, 2017 [8 favorites]

It was raining all morning and still very cloudy for totality where I was (we got the creepy dark, just no view of the actors), but we got good weather as the eclipse was waning. Check out my ridiculous binoculars projector, complete with Cloche and file folders. We had to take an old videocamera since we could mount onto the tripod, then mount the binoculars onto the camera with the camera hand-strap. Without occulting either end of one 'eye' of the binocs, and without losing access to the focus knob.
posted by janell at 4:50 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

The young people have the $250 sleeping pad I've been desiring. Should I steal it y/n

I'm sorry, but Eclipse Purge immunity only applies to crimes committed during the brief period when the solar disk is 96-100% obstructed by the moon. I'm afraid you missed your opportunity.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:55 PM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

Well, how drunk are they? Would they notice?
posted by gingerbeer at 4:59 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I wasn't planning to do anything despite being only 20 minutes from totality - 99.26! - but I ended up going to a friend's porch with some other friends. We had eclipse glasses and wine and I made a cardboard box pinhole viewer, plus tried to take a picture with my pinhole camera; we'll see, but I doubt it. However! It was really cool! I am glad I didn't bah humbug and stay home. The light got really odd, like thunderstorm light, and while it didn't get completely dark it definitely got darkish. I only wish the temperature had dropped. And my witchy friends brought pictures of the orange one and we stuck pins in them and smudged ourselves with sage and made wishes. A++, would eclipse again.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:01 PM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

Perhaps we should revisit the global shield idea

I was alluding to this and considered expanding on it. I'm strongly of the opinion that if humanity does things right that exo-scale structures like Dyson swarms will be a thing and the whole concept of a total solar eclipse and weird shadows and being reminded of your place in the universe in a local solar orbital plane on a monthly or hourly basis will become very mundane and boring.

Further, I will argue and hope that the concept of "weird frickin' light and shadows" will also become mundane and boring in ways that would take a thousand volumes of something like the Ian M. Banks culture novels to even begin to describe.

Let's take a grand cosmic step back from our uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy wherein lies a small unregarded yellow sun, not to diminish, but to grasp and understand.

Imagine being on a planet in a globular cluster of hundreds of stars and how many weird shadows you'd encounter.

Imagine a reality where the sky was filled with not stars but dozens or thousands of suns, where there was no night at all.

The one super fantastic thing we have regarding eclipses of active solar masses by nearby rocky planetary bodies is the relative uniqueness of our singular moon of a specifically useful size that very nearly matches the perceived radial size of our sun. A moon of of a precise diameter and orbital distance that it only ever so often completely occults and transits our local sun in such a way that it covers it just a bit more than completely.

This is likely quite rare and unique. In a galaxy of billions of stars and given the standards of physics, it can't be completely unique, but it's probably pretty rare from a habitable planet.

The very unique thing about this is that it's a complete occlusion at all. If our local star was any smaller or larger, this very unique effect would be lost. These kinds of shadows are playing all over the solar system all the time.

These kind of outdoor natural lighting effects are also happening all the time. Imagine how many total solar eclipses Jupiter or Saturn has in a month in various places, whether complete occlusions or partial occlusions and transits and... and the mind fucking boggles.

This is even happening all the time, all of your life every time you're exposed to any sunlight at all. That photons from one edge of the sphere and one other edge of the sphere are interacting with every shadow you project or ever see.

It's all a matter of timing, perspective and location.

And let's take another giant step back, into a field of view that includes, say, a few thousand stars and planets and the moons of those planets. Let's imagine ten thousand cones of shadow moving, each cast by planets and moons, a few thousand not-quite-point sources of light in the forms of stars. Points of light that aren't really points at all, but incredibly massive spheres casting light from over an astronomically large surface.

Eclipses and shadows everywhere... and in the end... they're just shadows that we're forced to notice in really profound ways in our relatively tiny frames of reference or time scales.

I'm not waxing on about this to minimize anything experienced today. I'm trying to maximize it by putting it into a properly vast perspective that I'm hoping boggles the imagination.

Because we're bathing in the same weird light that was accentuated and illuminated today. Billions and trillions of stars. Quadrillions and pentillions of shadows. So many photons interacting, all the time. So many rocky bodies and occluded stars, all the time, right over our heads. Gravitational lensing. Galactic shimmer and starlight. From nearly everywhere.

It's happening right now in broad daylight in front of your naked eyes, but it's just a matter of perception whether or not it translates through our clumsy, mediated nerve endings to the neurons of our brains. Somewhere in our shadows in broad daylight is photons and light from stars that are not Sol.

And that eclipse is still happening right now even though the eclipse shadow left our planet hours ago, and it won't end until our star dies and runs out of nuclear fuel. It's currently happening in hundreds if not thousands of places in our solar system, not just from our own moon.

We're all on a tiny rock that's whirling and spinning through space, but space isn't bleak or black at all, nor is the rock we're whirling on.

It's all glittering star stuff, and we're all glowing, all the time.

And it's indescribably amazing.
posted by loquacious at 5:16 PM on August 21, 2017 [10 favorites]

Unless you have fog blindness.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:20 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Biked 28 miles to the totality zone and back (56 miles total!) Made it home in one piece! Will I be able to walk tomorrow? I plan on hobbling to the bus (instead of my usual bike commute.) TOTALLY WORTH the soreness.

But traffic was not that bad and we could have driven without to much trouble. Maybe all us bikers helped with traffic?
posted by vespabelle at 5:42 PM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

We had a beautiful sunny morning in Seattle. Discovered we had a perfect view of the sun from our backyard, so we skipped following the entire neighborhood to the park and stayed home after taking our kiddo, who loosely interprets instructions, to daycare to preserve her eyeballs. We propped up our colander on some rocks and took a time-lapse video of the shadows while eating blueberries from our bushes and watching through eclipse glasses I bought in bulk with some coworkers. The temperature drop was dramatic - it was weird to see the sun but not FEEL it. The hummingbirds in our tree completely freaked out and the crows flew around yelling at the sky. Some family in the neighborhood spent the time of maximum occlusion banging on pots and pans outside - where is that a tradition? - which added some non-avian drama. Definitely worth missing a few hours of work.

My retired parents went to Nebraska, where some relatives live in the totality zone. My mom is a very good photographer and I can't wait to see what she captured!
posted by centrifugal at 5:47 PM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

We caught a break in the clouds right at the greatest occlusion here outside Chicago, and we very much enjoyed looking at it! The little McGees were pretty amazed, except the baby, who tried to eat her eclipse glasses and wouldn't look at the sun. And while my one friend didn't have her baby during the eclipse, ANOTHER friend did, a couple weeks early, and SHE HAS AN ECLIPSE BABY which officially makes her the coolest parent in the world and if she doesn't name this baby "Syzygy" I will be very disappointed!

Eyebrows McGee did you move from Peoria???? I've never met you and I've never been to Peoria and still that is upsetting

We did! My husband got a job in Chicago and my job with MeFi is obviously portable, so here we are in Chicagoland! We are heartbroken to leave Peoria -- especially the Peoria Astronomical Society! -- but my parents and two of my brothers live in the Chicago suburbs, and my BFF too, all within 20 minutes of each other, so it'll be wonderful to be so much closer to family and for my kids to grow up with their cousins. I'm still unpacking and getting everyone ready for school and about to take my first-ever trip to Ikea, but once I get settle I'm going to have to find myself some entertaining things to do, like maybe join the local historical society? Or maybe there's a weird local museum or something and I can become an expert on historical saddle buckles? I'll have to see!

We're in a rental house because moving from such a low-cost housing market to such a high-cost housing market means we need all the equity we can get out of the old house for a down payment, so we have to sell before we can buy! But it's really nice -- it's small, but the house is sunny and cozy and all our neighbors have been super-friendly, we even got brought DELICIOUS garden-grown tomatoes on our first day here when the movers were carrying stuff in. The street is quiet w/r/t cars but kids are running and biking by all day. Plus we can walk to our little suburb's downtown (and the commuter train station), so this morning to celebrate the last day of summer (school starts tomorrow) we walked to brunch.

I'm open to recommendations and/or warnings about downstate travel.

I'm too late to help, but when Chicago friends give me their paper maps to mark for downstate travel, I like to just scrawl "There be dragons here" somewhere south of I-80.

posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:55 PM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

I seriously wound up spending the rest of the day explaining to people about the goats and it was delightful.
posted by Sequence at 5:58 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Anderson, SC represent, y'all! I got me a Clemson Dog (hot dog with pimento cheese) at Figs and set up on their very soft little lawn with friends to nerd the fuck out.

One guy was there from Phoenix. Had literally jumped on a plane to ATL, took MARTA to a rental car locale and drove over.

I had made an old school pinhole projector, so the old folks were showing their kids, "This was how we used to do it!" And the kids were thinking I was an old fart. One lady wanted me to project the pinhole image on her daughter's forehead so she could take a picture, so what the hell, your mom wants to risk your eyesight on my shaky hands for Facebook likes, LETS DO IT. Had fun showing off the crescent shaped shadows. Sky was clear and gorgeous.

The refracted edge of the shadow was far beyond anything I ever expected, next time I'm gonna find a town on the edge so I can get two minutes of that. The main event was un-fucking-believeable. Like the transcendental gobsmacking of taking too many mushrooms except with everyone around feeling the same thing and a lot easier hangover. Afterwards on the phone with my dad, a former NASA guy, we geeked the fuck out and made plans for 2024. If you are ever within a day's drive of one of these, DO IT.

Stopped in at Carolina Braunhouse for goodbye beers and then on to sitting in the car.
And sitting. I-85 was tied in knots so we ducked off the back roads and had a pleasant, curvy drive home, with everyone else following Google to Athens, GA. Seriously, that shit is creepy. Watching every second car turning on various roads small roads in the backwoods as Google tries to spread out traffic across secondary roads, it's like Minority Report.

Anyhow, now that I have braved the robotraffic back to my cozy home it's time for rehydrating and catching up on GoT which everyone kept trying to spoil. I mean seriously.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:00 PM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Was speculating with a friend this eve on the number of babies likely to be named "Eclipse" or "Totality." Hmm.

Anderson, SC represent, y'all! I got me a Clemson Dog (hot dog with pimento cheese) at Figs

Skins or GTFO, I'm just sayin'.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:41 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Skins on a Monday? Your Yankee is showing.

(Seriously, I was all ready to go to the original get two all the way with chili and use my church language, but no...)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:47 PM on August 21, 2017

Honestly haven't been there in a quarter century at least. Good to know they still demand church language, tho. Standards must be maintained.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:09 PM on August 21, 2017

On our way home from Madras-was a little tired and cranky at the idea of heading over here, but man, so worth it. Camped with about 30 other people on a friend's lawn, traffic coming over Friday was easy and looks good heading home tonight. The event itself was stunning-I told my 7 and 11 year olds that I think they will remember this day when they were very old. The physicality of it-not just the visual effect, but the temperature dropping and the roosters crowing-so much more than I expected.
posted by purenitrous at 8:25 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Looking at Google maps' traffic view right now (many hours post-eclipse), there's orange slowdowns on a line of interstates across the country, going north away from the eclipse path.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:31 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

The forecasts were sad (storms, clouds) so we went with plan B and enjoyed 84 % in our yard. My oldest child was a bit "meh" about it -- but rapping on the door and squeeing convinced her that a few minutes outside with the Eclipser sunglasses was a sacrifice she could make (she works nights).
The dear husband tried to take photographs while wearing one set of glasses and holding another -- we shall see.
The youngest child was at work, sharing her sunglasses with her coworkers.

Colander shadows work! Tree shadows work! My neighbor came outside for a few minutes, enjoyed a view with the sunglasses, and mentioned that she was looking forward to celebrating her birthday during the 2024 eclipse -- which goes through Oklahoma! As does the 2045 eclipse!

Seriously, though, I love a lunar eclipse. We've had some fantastic ones over the last few years. Seems like the next good ones are January 31, 2018 and January 20, 2019, so I'll be outside for that.
posted by TrishaU at 9:11 PM on August 21, 2017

I work in a highrise where the top floor is currently vacant; the building management opened up the floor so we could watch the eclipse from 30 floors up and it was great fun. Someone got the the sound system to work and cranked up Bonnie Tyler when the eclipse reached its peak here and my colleagues and I laughed and laughed.
posted by mogget at 9:46 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Partial eclipse here - somewhat overcast but the clouds parted and I got a few pictures of tree shadows and pinhole projections. I had cut up a (computer) mouse box and punched holes to spell out "MEFI" for the projection. (A closer view; another view a few minutes later.)

Honestly I'd thought about skipping it, because nobody near me seemed to be interested in the eclipse at all and I didn't have anyone to share the excitement IRL; glad I took the time to go outside and share the experience with you all! Thanks to bondcliff and Wordshore and everyone else here for being so Yay Eclipse! and posting stories.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:32 PM on August 21, 2017 [15 favorites]

Well, traffic was a snarl, and I spent way too much time trying to extract photos from my ancient digital binoculars that turned out to be craptastic, but the rest turned out really great -- particularly this amazing video my brother recorded of the eclipse arriving over the town below. We weren't quite high enough to see the shadow rushing over the land, but you can see the city lights turning on, hear the crickets start singing, and get a decent look at the eclipse itself once it starts. And make sure you watch all the way through the end -- the delighted reaction of everybody else on the hillside ends in spectacular fashion.

More images:

The ridiculously picturesque landscape of Athens, TN

One of the more heavy-duty telescopes on display, plus an eclipse projector in action

Crescent shadows from the surrounding trees

The best shot of the eclipse itself we ended up getting (we are not photographers)

10/10, would drive hours to see again.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:52 AM on August 22, 2017 [11 favorites]

I went to a restaurant called "Brunch" and ate "brunch spaetzle" which were everything I've ever wanted in a breakfast food and more, a kindly man let me look through his eclipse glasses a whole lot of times and I got to see a 17% sun sliver, I checked out a big pile of trashy romance novels from the library to read at work the rest of this week, and I procrastinated yet another day at most of the planning for my upcoming Calc 1 class! Productive and eclipse-ful.
posted by augustimagination at 2:04 AM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

This was 11/10 for me.

The closest I've ever been to seeing a total eclipse was probably the one on March 7,1970. I remember that I was visiting my grandparents in Florida, but we were far enough outside the path of totality that it really wasn't that noticeable an event.

This time, well, I decided it was a bucket-list item. I had originally thought that it might be a fun idea to find a Mefi meetup, but instead, ended up meeting some photography friends from a certain famous (somewhat squirrely) website. We settled on Madisonville, KY. Far enough into the path of totality that we got 1m 38s, but not so far that things got really crazy. It turned out to be the perfect choice.

The fine folks at the Madisonville Community College went all out. They provided free parking, access to all of the campus buildings for air conditioning and restroom access, and a NASA consultant who narrated the entire thing. It made what could have been a brutal experience, with the 90-degree-plus heat and humidity to match a really very pleasant experience. They were giving out free eclipse glasses to those who needed them, had a properly-equipped 14-inch telescope with a video feed set up so that you didn't miss anything if you were inside, and reasonably priced refreshments and plenty of water. I bought a t-shirt to say thanks.

I set out from home (Indianapolis) at 3:30 am to pick up my oldest grandkid in Bloomington, IN at 5 AM. It's always much nicer to have a companion on a longish drive. Traffic was much lighter than anticipated. Met up with my friends at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and then we hopped over to the college. It was about 7:30 AM when we got there, and got absolutely primo parking right next to the buildings. There wasn't much of a crowd yet, but the MCC staff was up and running already. I literally cannot say enough about how well-organized and efficient the folks at MCC are. A++++++ Would eclipse again.

Finally, the eclipse started. Not much to see at first, but by the time the sun was 50% covered, it started to get noticeable on the ground. We photographers would call it a 1 f-stop reduction. By 75%, the cooling-down effect started to be noticeable. I set up the camera and tripod, set my focus to and mode to manual, and set up to bracket about 5 stops a half a stop at a time.


I thought I was ready. No way. The first thing was how rapidly the light faded, like an enormous dark blue bowl had been lowered over us. I mentally flashed on the scene from 2010 when Jupiter ignites, it was just that fast.

What we were left with was this incredible deeeeeeep dark blue sky, with an otherworldly flaming portal to some other universe or something. Photographs just cannot do it justice. Incredible.

Some wag asked if there was a rain date for the eclipse. I should have said "Yeah, April 8th, 2024."

That one passes directly over my house. I guess this was the dress rehearsal.

To anyone who thinks they've seen an eclipse, but haven't been in the path- the difference between 99% and totality is like the difference between a pat on the head and wild tearing-off-the-clothes sex. It is not to be missed.
posted by pjern at 4:32 AM on August 22, 2017 [17 favorites]

What we were left with was this incredible deeeeeeep dark blue sky, with an otherworldly flaming portal to some other universe or something.

That's as good a description as I have seen. I took joeyh up on his invitation to drive to Due West, SC and it ended up being just about perfect. They even provided a rooster to crow at the beginning and end of totality! Despite a forecast calling for some clouds, by the time we got there the area near the sun was completely clear with some scattered clouds near the horizon. As the eclipse progressed everyone was pointing out interesting shadows and other effects, and our hosts passed around pinhole cameras, a colander, and so on to play with. Of course, there were plenty of eclipse glasses to go around! As the sun dwindled to a sliver, the light got as dim as a heavily overcast day, but there were still shadows as if the sun were shining; very strange. Then a second or so of diamond ring and BAM! Instant night time! Stars were out, crickets were singing, and it got noticeably cooler. And over it all was this stage otherworldly presence where the sun used to be. The sky was a dark indigo blue, but the eclipsed sun was completely black. Even the best photos I have seen fail to capture the beauty of the corona; gauzy luminescent white filaments extending outward from this black hole in the sky. It looked like it should be making sounds, perhaps popping and hissing like a fire, but instead it was completely silent. The clouds on the horizon looked like sunrise was coming from all directions. Two minutes and 31 seconds later the diamond ring appeared on the other side and it was daylight again. Everyone looked around some at the signs of the now growing sun, but the air of anticipation was gone, and we packed up and headed home in relative silence. It was an awesome experience in every sense of the word. Thanks again, joeyh for inviting us!

As an aside, the trip was all on secondary roads, mainly SC 28, well away from interstates and other major roads. Traffic on the way up was noticeably heavier, but not bad. About the same as a holiday weekend at the lake. Once we got past the lake, it was normal backroads traffic the rest of the way. The drive back was the same, with traffic picking up as we neared home, but not significantly slower than usual. Somehow we managed to beat the rush, because an hour after we got home I had dropped everyone off at their respective homes and was headed north on 28 to my house, and traffic was backed up for over a mile with travelers returning from SC. In 20 years of living on this road I have never seen that except for once when there was a severe accident with fatalities near my house. It cleared up in an hour though, and things were back to normal.
posted by TedW at 5:33 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

My favorite thing about the whole day was the coolness that descended as part of the sun got blocked out. We just had the little cookie bite eclipse, but I could see it through the clouds from a chair on my porch and that was just fine. I took one photo.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:01 AM on August 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

It took us about 3.5 hours to drive to a parking lot south of Marion IL (near Carbondale), where we stopped to watch with other folks already at the scene. The family next to us gave us eclipse glasses (after it was over, I gave them the Madeleines I baked last night). When we left the parking lot, the Google app estimated that the return trip would take 3.5 hours - and 2 hours later it was still saying we had another 3.5 hours before arriving back home. Took 7+ hours to drive back, averaged <35 mph.

Totally worth it.

(After dropping daughter and me off, my son had a 90 mile drive back to his place. Sent this text when he got home. Back safely. Had a great time today. Will not be forgetting today ever. Love you and goodnight.)
posted by she's not there at 7:50 AM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had originally thought that it might be a fun idea to find a Mefi meetup...

It took us about 3.5 hours to drive to a parking lot south of Marion IL (near Carbondale)...

Curious to hear from MeFites who went to Carbondale or the IRL there about how it - and the town and crowds itself - was. And whether you will attempt the "Carbondale double" in 2024.

Speaking of which, plenty of news and more solid information pieces about that one, which crosses a bundle of big US cities. US states under the path of totality appear to be Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, plus some of eastern Canada. It also has a longer totality than the total eclipse of yesterday.

Before then, there's a load more partial and annular eclipses, some in the USA plus three total eclipses:

- July 2, 2019: total in Pitcairn Islands, central Argentina and Chile, Tuamotu Archipelago.
- December 14, 2020: total in Southern Chile and Argentina, Kiribati, Polynesia.
- December 4, 2021: "this eclipse will be unusual as the path of the total eclipse will move from east to west across Antarctica, while most eclipse paths move from west to east. This reversal is only possible in polar regions." And would make for a heck of an IRL meetup.
posted by Wordshore at 8:08 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

My youngest child and I headed out from Chicago at 3:45AM. We stopped for breakfast in Harrisburg where many people were heading for spots in the Shawnee National Forest. We decided to head south west to lose the crowds.
So we found an empty old cemetery on a hill and set up our chairs in some shade and read while waiting. No cell coverage. It was hot as hell. First noticeable difference was the quality of the light and the dropping temp. From the inception to the totality the air became cool. As totality got closer some birds sang weird versions of night time singing and some night crickets joined in. At totality we stood on the crossroads on the hill. Nothing moved. The horizon all around us had pink clouds as if surrounded by sunset, directly overhead was the eclipse in a dark blue sky, not quite like night. Stars were visible.
This lasted two minutes and then it was like a light turned on.
We could hear dogs howling and barking from farms on the other side of the treeline.

We both had brought books to read about Nixon, she's reading about Watergate, I'm reading the new bio. Genetics are weird.
posted by readery at 8:21 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

The first email I sent my friends about planning for this eclipse was on August 25th, 2014. So I guess I was pretty excited?

It didn't work out for us all to meet up, so one stayed home, 2 were in SC and TN (in totality), and I happen to live close to totality for this one. Unfortunately, the great midwestern cloudover made things in my viewing location less than ideal. The clouds were in and out for the first 90 minutes, which was actually pretty interesting - the eclipsed sun would disappear behind the clouds, and then when it reappeared, it would be significantly more eclipsed.

Right at about 96+% (a tiny sliver of sun), the clouds took over for good. So I didn't get to see any totality, but I did still experience all the associated darkness. I had planned for the occasion, though, and shot a time-lapse video for the 20 minutes or so surrounding totality. It was truly amazing - everyone at the lake was clearly very impressed, even without being able to see totality. My friends reported amazement at their totality experiences in their sunnier locations, and I'm happy that they got to experience it, rather than being stuck under the clouds with me.

An adorable couple (who had driven 8 or so hours from Michigan) got engaged right after totality was over. It was real cute. Since it was pretty clear the clouds weren't going away, people started to make their way home, and then the skies opened up into the biggest storm in a while. So of course traffic was nuts headed home, and it took about twice as long as it should have to get home.

Oh! I also made a poster for this eclipse in my screenprinting class at the local arts center. There's even a few for sale at a shop in town - which feels crazy to me, as this is the first art-adjacent thing that I've ever created from start to finish.

All told, despite the clouds and rain, I'm very happy with how things went. I'm definitely excited about 2024, which is within a 6 or so hour drive for me.
posted by god hates math at 8:28 AM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

everything I've ever wanted in a breakfast food and more

Part of me wants to look up Brunch's brunch spaetzle to find out more. Part of me wants to daydream about all the possible things it could be.

Going with option #2.
posted by asperity at 8:38 AM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Part of me wants to look up Brunch's brunch spaetzle to find out more.

I went ahead and scoped it out. It looks pretty spectacular.
posted by cooker girl at 9:35 AM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Got back late last night after watching the eclipse at a lake a little ways from Salem (we had targeted Madras originally but were worried about the crowds). Like everyone else says, totality was amazing - how the sudden darkness came in, the clarity of the sky, and this cold ring of fire burning in the sky. The air was a little hazy (wildfires, I think) but still let us see Venus in the sky.

Totally worth it, and I may just see which of my friends will be on the East Coast come 2024....
posted by invokeuse at 9:49 AM on August 22, 2017

I had an awesome visit with my parents this weekend. I've had an infamously rocky relationship with my parents over the years, so when they both said that they enjoyed themselves (multiple times, no less), it made me probably entirely too happy. I still just want my parents' approval, even after all these years.

Their love language is gifts, so they probably spent way too much money on me and the beau, but it made them happy and we paid for the ultra-fancy dinner at the beachside restaurant on Saturday, so I'm not going to stress about it too much. Plus, I got to try a rum flight and also was able to bring home some really lovely key lime cider. So you know, good souvenirs!

Since we were down in the Tampa area, there was only a partial eclipse, but I must admit that seeing all of the crescent-moon shadows on the sidewalk through the trees was pretty freaking cool. The beau and I are floating the idea of going to see the next one in 2024, since it passes through his home city.
posted by PearlRose at 10:00 AM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

This just in. You can donate your eclipse glasses! Solar eclipse 2019, y'all.

A mailing address (via):
Explore Scientific
621 Madison Street
Springdale, Arkansas 72762
posted by aniola at 10:04 AM on August 22, 2017

We were in Portland, and I was amazed at how much we could still see, even when the sun was just a sliver in the sky.
posted by aniola at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2017

I've heard the sun only uses, like, 10% of its brain, anyway. So 3% is really like a third of the sun on a good day, when it's fully rested and had its coffee.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:32 AM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

OK but the black cat comes in from the wrong side and this is bugging me more than it should.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:38 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's Australian.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:39 AM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Our colander's shadow made the colander seem like maybe it was some sort of cheese grater in disguise.
posted by aniola at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

I went on a road trip with my dad for the first time in something like 20 years and we stopped in the parking lot of a fireworks store in Gettysburg to catch the 81% eclipse. It was magical. We also let some lady in an Arby's parking lot try them on. It seemed to make her day.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:30 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really thought 2% of the Sun (Atlanta at max eclipse; I was scared by the traffic, which judging from what coworkers who went said might have been wise) would be brighter than it was. Just goes to show you how bright the Sun is.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:40 AM on August 22, 2017

And our eyes/brain are really good at adjusting to and compensating for changes to ambient light levels.
posted by Mitheral at 12:48 PM on August 22, 2017

Yeah, as I noted in the original eclipse thread, I think peoples eyes adjusted to the dimness, which I didn't expect. The whole experience was amazing but totality didn't appear as dark as I expected. There were some clouds to the south and west of us which I think scattered light our way.

I'm sorry I missed the Carbondale crew but it was easier for me to reach Western Carolina Regional airport and at decision time they had a better forecast. There was an interesting mix of folks and aircraft there, from small piston planes like mine all the way up to a Gulfstream IV and other jets. Also there were some skilled amateur astronomers up visiting from Florida and they let us use their gear which was fun. We were privileged not to have to deal with road traffic (I could see from the air that it was bad) but there were so many planes packed in for parking that we early arrivals had to wait for space to move out. I put a few photos in the Instragram linked on my profile.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to try and experience totality. No photos or video can truly capture it. I am already thinking about 2024.
posted by exogenous at 1:15 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

It'll start in Mazatlan; it is going to be hard to decide between spending a week in Mazatlan or someplace in the states with potentially better weather.
posted by Mitheral at 1:35 PM on August 22, 2017

I haven't been able to edit my photos yet, so all I have for internet linking are the ones I got off my camera via wifi and posted to twitter.

We scoped a few locations in Charleston Saturday and Sunday and ended up heading out to the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site because they had a nice southern view and some potentially photogenic trees for location (and no direct link to the Confederacy, which was nice). The area was under heavy cloud cover for much of the day, and I ended up taking most of my photos through clouds, which make up in drama what they lack in clarity. About twenty minutes before totality there had been distant thunder and lightning, and a poor park ranger had to come around to everybody and give their standard "recommendation" that visitors return to their cars until thirty minutes had passed. "We have a rule, if we hear it, we clear it." Nobody moved, of course. There were thunder and lightning during totality, and we completely missed C3 and the diamond ring, but it was still amazing. It didn't rain on us until we got close to the airport. So, you know, sun disappearing, thunder, lightning, heavy clouds, it's easy to see why people freak out about doomsday.

We also had kind of a travel fiasco, as our hotel was (unsurprisingly) overbooked. They both downgraded us (their fault) and put us in the wrong bed type (probably Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel's fault, as we paid for the room with points). My wife read them the riot act and got on the phone with our Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel while I made sheepish faces at the poor desk agent (who didn't help herself by trying to minimize the downgrade), and eventually the Solution Accepted By All was that the hotel comped one night back, which we will apparently see in our point balance. So that was nice. But then our return flight was delayed by two hours departing and a further hour waiting for an arrival gate, and I got a surprise email from JetBlue alerting me to a $50 credit for the latter delay, which will make up for the Lyft we had to take to get home after missing the last Metro train at DCA if we actually manage to use it. Sigh. At least the sunset while we waited at the airport was nice. But so much for our plan to fly straight home after the eclipse and deal with pictures then.
posted by fedward at 2:00 PM on August 22, 2017

It'll start in Mazatlan; it is going to be hard to decide between spending a week in Mazatlan or someplace in the states with potentially better weather.

If the cloud cover maps at eclipsophile are accurate, the Mexican parts of that eclipse track have less cloud cover than the US parts.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:22 PM on August 22, 2017

Eclipse report from Wyoming!

We were dreading all the traffic and took off from Denver on Saturday, spending the night just over the border in the Medicine Bow Range of WY, where later I got to see 2.45 billion year old bacterial mats, aka stromatolites, the largest and oldest I've ever seen (as reported earlier in a MeTa). I cried. Then we headed to a little place I knew to camp called Muskrat Basin. I was gobsmacked by all the traffic both days - it was a solid line of cars from I-80 headed north on Sunday, and all the backroads near Jeffrey City & on north were full of campers and people, including a number of very lost souls (the BLM roads in the area are a nightmare, and numerous people thought they would have cell phone coverage and had no maps, poor lambs).

Sunday night a whole series of squalls moved through, and then finally a pretty big thunderstorm/wind storm, which blew more than half an inch of dust into the tent - we had to sit with our backs against one side out of fear the wind would blow the tent over, which is an unpleasant experience I can tell you - but the main thought in our minds was that these storm clouds might clear from our area but they were surely headed east over a lot of other people's eclipse zone. But sunset near Muskrat Basin was gorgeous (can you spot the pronghorn?).

To watch the eclipse in the totality zone I had chosen an area a few miles north of the Rattlesnake Range, which is west of Casper, slightly near Cyclone Ridge, but as we headed north at 7 AM on this fart of a BLM road that's normally used only by uranium miners and just saw car after car after car I began to get a-feared the spot I had chosen might be busy, so I had us go much deeper into the basin area near a place called Maverick Butte; while we passed a few cars at the entrance to the road there wasn't anyone near us once we got about 2 miles in on this little road that had grass growing in the ruts, so then I was happy, and got us almost directly on the centered line of totality.

I was too lazy to make a pinhole camera, so I just used some cardstock and a pair of binoculars to project the sun and took pictures of that decidedly bigger image instead. Every 10 minutes for about an hour before the eclipse I took notes of the temperature and wind speed/direction; as the eclipse began the wind died down and the temp started to drop. At its most it dropped 15 degrees were we where, and the wind completely died. What was interesting about that was as it started to warm up afterward the wind began again, but from a different direction, much like the daily evening lesser cousin of a katabatic wind. Anyway, I hope to make a temperature graph later.

This was totality in our area - no people, no town. There wasn't much bird life but there were grasshoppers and crickets - the grasshoppers went quiet and the crickets started up. There was a herd of pronghorn nearby which got very restless; normally skittish anyway they started running at the slightest thing - a bird flying, a kick of wind - as the sun got dimmer. They fled into a washout right before totality and we didn't see them again, but I could see the sagebrush and grasses moving so they were still moving around a lot.

I was hoping as high as we were (about 6600 ft) that we might see the line of totality in the distance, but it was too far away and the sky too hazy from all the forest fires. The mountains in the north and west - the Bighorns and Owl Creeks - did start to light to up a little more but "movement" was just too gradual to really see anything. The light was so eerie -it was like sunset in some ways, and we saw stars, but it was from the wrong direction and it kicked up something powerful in our instincts that something was mightily wrong with the natural world. I wonder if that's how animals feel before an earthquake or hurricane? Anyway, aside from that it was a most glorious experience, and I cried again.

We finished out the eclipse and the temperature readings - by the time we left the temps had just recovered what they had been at 10 AM, and this was about 1:30 AM - and then drove right into a SHITSHOW OF TRAFFIC. Ohhhhh my god. The gravel roads were bad enough - and one could tell by the dust that most people left their spots right after totality was over - but the highway from what's called Muddy Gap to Lander/Riverton was a total nightmare. We were driving the opposite direction and white knuckling it because it was just a line of cars and people were being totally stupid about passing others. Originally we were going to spend the night in the Wind Rivers to avoid the traffic back to Colorado but saw the line of cars headed south from Lander down to Rock Springs, knew we would be stuck for hours, so we decided to go to Lander instead and get pizza and beer at one my favorite Wyo bars, the Lander Bar, then went to their festival and drank lots of beer with climbers and cowboys, then got our tent up at some BLM land just outside of town around midnight. It was great. The stream of stop and go traffic coming from Riverton, Jackson, and Lander itself kept up for 4 hours that we witnessed (my vehicle's parked on the street in that photo! that's cool!) - who knows how long before that. I heard someone say at a gas station today that it took them 10 hours to get from Casper to Cheyenne - normally about 2 hours. Two gas stations in Lander ran out.

Early reports say at least 1 million people visited Wyoming. Wow.
posted by barchan at 7:06 PM on August 22, 2017 [9 favorites]

Finally got to wifi! Western Nebraska eclipse report time.

Herr Vortex and I left Wall, South Dakota at 3am and drove through Rapid City and then south to Agate Fossil Beds Nat'l Monument. We arrived at 7am. This tiny little park did a great job of bringing in traffic folks and other staff to deal with the thousands of visitors.

The parking lot resembled that of a Dead show, maybe with a few more nerds and children. The folks next to us had their ukuleles out amd were jamming while the guy on the other side of them spent hours fussing over his telescopes. There was a yoga class on the lawn of the visitor center and other fun stuff, but we spent most of our time on a butte overlooking the park.

The main hiking trails were blocked off due to concerns about the hordes damaging the fossils, bit we were given free rein to hike on the other hills and buttes. So sonce we had hours befor the action started, we hiked up to the top of a nearby hill and then over the ridge to a butte. We met a group of delightful old hippies from Texas who had scouted out a great spot to see the shadow coming in as well as the eclipse. They invited us to join them so we hiked down to get our chairs and headed back up. We also met a guy from Manitoba who had driven down by himself even though all of his friends had backed out. (He brought his dog, Penny).

The weather: low 80s and not a cloud in the sky.

Friends, totality was amazing. Just as the sky grew dark, two umbra-chasing airplanes flew overhead. We saw the shadow from our vantage point race across the landscape at 1000 miles an hour just at the diamond ring stage. The corona appeared as a ring with three large star-point beams shooting off into space. There was a 365 degree sunset. Our new friends cheered and wept and we all hugged.

And then we got on the road and sat in traffic from hell for seven hours to get to our hotel in Pueblo. 18 hours after we woke up at 3 am and crossing three states, our eclipse pilgrimage was over. Luckily we gorlt to listen to a Twins doubleheader for the long ride :^)

On a personal note, it was one of the most profound moments of my life and it'll take me a while to process it. I don't think I have ever felt so small or so much like dust...and at the same time, so wild and full of energy. Like a pot of boiling water. I can see why people travel around the world to witness a full eclipse.

Anyway, 100% worth it. I will be making a donation to Agate Fossil Beds Nat'l Monument when I get home. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it to anyone.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:27 PM on August 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

Thanks for sharing photos and videos, folks! Looks spectacular!

I hope everyone got home safe. It took our friends 24 hours to drive back from Oregon. It's normally an 8 hour drive.

We're already planning on going somewhere for 2024. My vote is for somewhere remote.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:07 PM on August 22, 2017

My boyfriend and I had a bit of a party the night before and I ended up sleeping through it. rats.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:27 AM on August 23, 2017

I hope everyone got home safe. It took our friends 24 hours to drive back from Oregon. It's normally an 8 hour drive.

It seems like the predicted traffic disaster made people decide to travel to the eclipse in a more spaced out fashion, with a lot of people arriving days ahead. But afterward everyone left at the same time, and things clogged up pretty badly.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:29 AM on August 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

There was (and still is, I think) a 440-acre fire next to I-5 between Portland and Olympia, which made traffic even worse. I mean, obviously traffic is the least of the concerns, but it was just one more thing making traffic bad. It took us over twice as long to get home as it did to drive there.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:16 AM on August 23, 2017

I was expecting the interstates and one or two of the main highways to be super horrible, but as for the rest of Wyoming I thought it might be rodeo parade day bad: one or two hours of cloggy and cranky, then gradually clear out. I knew I was wrong when we drove up 287 Sunday morning from Rawlins to Muddy Gap, the junction between the Lander/Riverton/Teton area and Casper, and it was a solid line of cars - all going mostly highway speed, but still a line - from horizon to horizon. I hope they all had a good time!

I also really hope a lot of people come back to experience the backroads and small highways of Wyoming at a different time, like spring when it's green and full of fawns and calves, or fall when the elk are bugling and the red and tawny colors of the grass are something to see in frost, and get to truly experience some of those mountain ranges and basins in their natural state of emptiness. I saw a photo of 487 between Casper and Medicine Bow in the Shirley Basin that was a solid line of cars with people actually getting out of them due to to the wait. The Shirley is my favorite small basin in the entire world, and occasionally when I'm there I don't see a single car the entire length of driving that road. It's sad those people didn't get to really feel that. It was probably hot, hazy, dusty, just surrounded by sagebrush and stress, and people who hadn't been there before might think that's what it's really like. It's not. Wyoming's a lot like Nebraska - the interstates are in some of the most boring areas of the state and people rushing through miss a lot of the coolness; I guess I don't want first time visitors to think the entire state (outside of the Yellowstone area) is like that too. I know the big basins of Wyoming aren't for everyone but they do speak to some, and hopefully those they could speak to get another chance at listening.

Anyway. The Atlantic republished Annie Dillard's classic piece on experiencing an eclipse, and it's just as good as I remembered. Puts into words what a lot of people might be feeling: Total Eclipse.
posted by barchan at 8:50 AM on August 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

I also really hope a lot of people come back to experience the backroads and small highways of Wyoming at a different time, like spring when it's green and full of fawns and calves, or fall when the elk are bugling and the red and tawny colors of the grass are something to see in frost, and get to truly experience some of those mountain ranges and basins in their natural state of emptiness.
Last September my wife and I did a 17-day, 3200-mile road trip to a bunch of NPS sites out there, and one of the (many) unexpected* pleasures was the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The aspens had turned to gold but hadn't lost their leaves yet, and the colors mixed with the pines were breathtaking.

* As opposed to the expected pleasures like the parks themselves. We knew those would be amazing.
posted by fedward at 9:22 AM on August 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I looked at the sun without the glasses. I can still see. Take that, science!
posted by Justinian at 2:23 PM on August 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I also really hope a lot of people come back to experience the backroads and small highways of Wyoming at a different time [...]

I had never had any particular desire to visit Wyoming, and now it's moved high up my list. I have driven through on 80, at least twice, but that certainly doesn't count. Montana's been kind of moving up gradually in the last six or seven years, too.
posted by lazuli at 6:50 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I’m back from my trip. 2460 miles of driving, 45 total hours in the car (the car had a trip computer!), 5 ½ days. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

It started out with a good omen. We decided to rent a car so we’d have a bit more comfort and quiet than my Subaru. When I got to the rent-a-car place they didn’t have the class of car I ordered and asked if I’d mind taking a BMW X5 at the same rate. Reluctantly, I agreed. Booya!

We got to Nashville on Sunday afternoon, experiencing very little in the way of traffic. After a dinner of hot chicken and barbeque, we slept in on Monday and had a leisurely breakfast. I wasn’t sure what traffic would be like on the day of the eclipse so we decided to just stay at the hotel for it. I mean, where better to watch it than pool side? There were about 20-30 people with the same idea so we had ourselves a little pool party.

There were a few of us who had cameras set up but most people were just there to watch. My plan was to get everything set up ahead of time so when the time came I could enjoy myself and maybe just press my camera remote a few times. I didn’t want anything to distract me.

We had our glasses and camera filters. We were ready.

Science is amazing. I had a timer app on my phone that used GPS to time things to the second. Sure enough, as soon as first contact was announced you could just detect the tiniest dent on the upper right quadrant of the sun, which would grow over the next hour or so. We’d take a peak here and there, take a photo, and then take a dip in the pool.

It was clear when we got up, but by the time the eclipse was approaching some big clouds were building. Shortly after first contact the sun was obscured. I was trying to just accept things the way they were, but I was certainly a bit disappointed. The clouds would come and go, but there were some big ones that looked like they were going to spoil our fun.

About fifteen minutes before totality we had a break in the clouds and it looked like it was going to happen. By this time the sun was a tiny sliver of light.

I think my favorite part of the whole day was the last minute or so before totality. Everyone started getting excited, my timer was counting down, and the light got…weird. Not night, not day, not even dusk. Just a sort of light that was completely new. We had some white poster board laid out and could see faint shadowbands drifting across them. Bats started flying around. Venus came out and shined bright.

Then… Bailey's beads, the diamond ring, and totality. Glasses came off and we just stared at this big black hole in the sky. I’d been stressing about the trip for a month, then stressing on the drive about the traffic, then stressing about the clouds and all that just… went away. There was a hole in the sky surrounded by bright rays. Our Moon, the one that just happens to be the same size in the sky as our sun, blocked our view of the star that gives us light. And we knew it was going to happen. We calculated it to the exact millisecond. Science, motherfuckers.

There’s really no way to recreate this. I know there are plenty of photos and videos out there but you just have to experience it. You can know what an eclipse looks like from a photo, I mean every photo of this eclipse looks the same, but seeing it actually happen, being surrounded by people all sharing in the same event… look, just fucking start planning for 2024 is what I’m saying, ok? Go see an eclipse.

Tuesday my wife flew home from Louisville, KY and my son and I continued on to Cleveland. The Red Sox just happened to be in town so we caught a game at Progressive Field. Now I get why people hate Boston sports fans because, god dammit every single Sox fan but us was drunk and obnoxious. I was embarrassed for my city. (SOX WON 9-1 SUCK IT CLEVELAND TOM BRADY WOOOOOOO!). Also I guess there was some trade that happened with the Celtics and everyone wanted to ask me about it but I had to explain that I know nothing about basketball and they’d look at me and turn away in disgust.

Yesterday on the way home we made a detour to Niagara Falls and rode on the Maid of the Mist, which was pretty amazing. Not total eclipse-amazing, but amazing none-the-less.

It was the longest road trip I’ve ever done, by far, and I’d do it again tomorrow.
posted by bondcliff at 7:39 AM on August 24, 2017 [14 favorites]

My elder daughter did ballet in a hotel parking lot under totality, her toddler sister clapped and laughed (possibly the first time the latter has been outside in darkness, now that I think of it), and if that's the very last memory I keep when my brain finally shuts down, I'll go happily.
posted by Etrigan at 8:20 AM on August 24, 2017 [12 favorites]

There’s really no way to recreate this. I know there are plenty of photos and videos out there but you just have to experience it. You can know what an eclipse looks like from a photo, I mean every photo of this eclipse looks the same, but seeing it actually happen, being surrounded by people all sharing in the same event… look, just fucking start planning for 2024 is what I’m saying, ok? Go see an eclipse.

That was very well and passionately put, bondcliff. That's it exactly! Thank you.
posted by barchan at 8:37 AM on August 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

We didn't have totality here in Boston, but a friend gave me a pair of eclipse glasses and I ate nachos and did work close to campus and checked on the sun intermittently, and shared my eclipse glasses with amazed passing strangers and felt very much like I was part of a community. A+ sky stuff.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:44 AM on August 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I finally edited my photos and posted them to Flickr. Here's the set. These are the clouds we were dealing with. Here's a faint photo of Baily's Beads (it would have been a bit brighter but I missed the last click of the aperture ring). Here's totality.

The clouds were insane, but the photos sure are striking, even if I say so myself.
posted by fedward at 8:38 PM on August 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

The 2024 eclipse passes directly over my house... with 4+ minutes of totality. Meetup much?

My best photo of totality.
posted by pjern at 11:42 AM on August 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Those are great photographs, fedward and pjern.

And, uh, I trust that the fact the corona looks almost pentagonal in your photo is some kind of artifact, pjern -- because otherwise, I might have to wonder whether there could be weird dodecahedral symmetry going on in the Sun's corona.
posted by jamjam at 12:36 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

jamjam: Well, there's a little hexagonal symmetry going on because, well, 6-bladed diaphragm on my Nikon 300mm lens. but the prominent points at about 1, 3, and 8 o'clock were there in real life.
posted by pjern at 1:50 PM on August 26, 2017

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