I’m sitting in a dark hotel room on the eve of my first - and possibly only - total solar eclipse, with my partner and step-son, and I am positively awash with emotions.

I have been waiting for this day for 30 years, since my first partial eclipse in May of 1994. That was an underwhelming experience for many reasons, but not the least of them was that I had nothing and no one to view the eclipse with.

Three decades, two astronomy degrees, 5 years operating a planetarium, and 5 years as a guide at the local observatory later, and I’m fully prepared. Today, I have more viewing glasses than i have fingers, two cameras with filters, I have my family, and I am smack dab in the middle of the path of totality.

And the forecast calls for clear skies.

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that this is actually happening for me. That everything looks like it’s going to work out.

The only disappointment is that I discovered that Potato World exists - it’s the New Brunswick potato museum (and it’s next door to my hotel) - but it’s closed!

  • @RememberTheApollo_
    3 months ago

    I’ve got a few years of waiting on you, but never made an eclipse a priority to see. This one was close enough where I had no excuses. And I had the day off with the kids. We drove many hours to get to Plattsburgh, NY in the hopes that the event wouldn’t be obscured by clouds, we had a choice between that and Ohio. Looks like Ohio did pretty well, we had a high cirrus cloud layer but it wasn’t enough to disrupt the view. I wouldn’t call myself an astronomy buff, but Space has always held huge interest in my life, so dragging the family out for this event was kinda a big ask because they weren’t necessarily into it. I hoped the trip would be worth it, both weather-wise and stellar phenomena-wise.

    Worth it. There’s no words to describe the ethereal, silvery ring that magically appears during totality. Bailey’s beads and more. Sure, there are photos and videos, but that doesn’t do justice to the play of light in the environment surrounding the viewer, the night-yet-still-day incongruity.

    Everyone is taking home some joy from the experience.

    We tried to capture a photo of total, but due to a comedy of errors, it didn’t happen, so the memories will just have to stay in our heads.

    I hope anyone near an eclipse’s path of totality won’t write it off if they have a choice. Go see it. Truly a sight.

    Hope your viewing went well, too.

    • @XeroxCool
      23 months ago

      This is the kind of thing where even if kids don’t seem to really be interested in it, even if they don’t seem impressed, it’s such an incredibly rare and unique event (close enough to home) that they will always remember it. Maybe not to the point of thinking about it every week, but in the sense that every mention of solar eclipses, at the very least, will remind them of this one moment in totality with you. You can plant some seeds for interests without knowing what will take root while still knowing the seed stays there.

      • @RememberTheApollo_
        13 months ago

        Certainly hope so, and the memories of the better part of a day in bumper to bumper traffic going home to fade.