Here’s the difference between 99% and 100%.

[Friday-morning update]

“I’ve always thought eclipse chasers—these people who spend thousands of dollars flying around the world to spend two minutes looking at a solar eclipse—were a little nutty. I mean, that’s a little extreme, right? If you want to see what a solar eclipse looks like, type solar eclipse into Google.”

I was wrong.”

15 thoughts on “Totality”

  1. Yep, it was amazing to see first hand. My best description of it is: A black disk in a dark sky with an impossibly complex glow surrounding it. I can only hope to see another one.

  2. I was with a small group at Ocean Lake, Wyoming, maybe 20 feet from the shore. Great open view to the west and northwest. I set up a camera pointing over the lake at our group and just let it run. The changes in lighting just before, during and just after totality are striking. You can see the shadow coming in, and everyone is illuminated from the front (east). Then all the shadows disappeared and it got twilight dark. By the end of totality, the sky has lightened and we were all silhouetted against it. Just as suddenly, there were shadows and in a couple of seconds back to bright light.

    (And yes, the bugs thought night had started. Glad to have put on the repellant.)

    Unfortunately, no shadow bands, which are another one of those things you have to experience to appreciate. Saw about 15 seconds before and then after for the 1998 eclipse in Aruba, and almost surreal seeing an entire parking lot shimmer that way.

  3. We got a little over 80% here, and it was pretty cool. But several people from work had gone places to see totality, and they were awestruck. I think I’ve convinced the lovely KfK to go for totality in 2014.

  4. The corona is about as bright as the full moon.

    The full sun is 400,000x as bright as the full moon.

    So, the difference between totality and 99.9% partial is a factor of 400.

    It was spectacular, from where I saw it in Kentucky. The 2024 totality should be about twice as long, and much darker at the midpoint (since the umbral spot will be twice as wide).

  5. The thing that interested me was how most of it had to be covered before one even noticed the difference. That’s how powerful the Sun is. It wasn’t until it had become a thin crescent that you could really notice the difference.

    It was a ghastly kind of dimness then. Not like a usual fade to dusk, with the sky darkening on one side and an orange glow on the other, and long shadows cast about. It was a pervasive, all-encompassing, eerie death of the light. It made me feel ill.

    1. A colander makes great set of pinhole images.

      Another thing we noticed was how the edges of shadows weren’t sharp. Especially shadows with lots of curves and sharp details. It was because of the crescent shape of the light-source. I tried to take some pictures of it, but it just looked out of focus or motion blurry. Another one of those things during an eclipse that doesn’t photograph well.

  6. I witnessed an annular eclipse in 1984, was directly in it’s path (upstate SC) just as I was for this total eclipse. The difference between the two events was striking. I found the 1984 eclipse to be pretty amazing but this later one was over the top.

  7. This was my third total eclipse, and I think my very favorite part is the last 15 seconds or so before totality. It feels like God is turning off the Sun with a dimmer switch.

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