Author Topic: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW  (Read 509 times)

Prana

  • Guest
IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« on: August 22, 2017, 12:39:16 PM »
There is no way to describe this. But, a scene in Carl Sagan's Cosmos, where Ellie sees a galaxy up close from the outside, and says, in rapture: "no words, no words…. they should have sent a poet" gets there. Good old Carl, a way with words (and science).

I joined a group of eclipse-goers in Oregon, on the Calpooia River south of Salem. Hosted by friends of Max Vanderwyst, childhood friend of my son-in-law and his family, this was an intimate group in a friendly, relaxed environment. Pleasant shade camping, next to the river with nice swimming holes.

But this is about the eclipse.

Once the temperature changed noticeably, we all went out to a huge field next to the property. We watched as the Dragon ate the Sun, taking an ever larger bite, while the temperature continued dropping. A hot day now was chilly enough I had some shivers. The horizons took on an eerie opalescent hazy glow. Birds in trees began chattering. Nearly all traffic on the nearby road stopped. The only real sounds were of excited children in our group.

Excitement grew as the last tiny sliver sat, for what seemed almost tantalizingly long. Then darkness.
Off came the solar glasses. Things happened so fast, so fast I could hardly think of what to so. I stood there, as the black disk of the moon hid all but some bright glow… then… then…

The Diamond Ring sprang outward from the trailing edge of the Moon. The sky was a strange almost muted turquoise blue. The Sun, the Diamond, was a brilliant creamy bulge on the side of the Black. Rays emanated from it. The edges of the Black were ringed by a bright glow. Up near the Diamond, Bailey's Beads showed as small, what I would call glowing lumps of red lava, points of light, arcing up around the northern edge of the Black.

People were screaming. Jumping. Crying. Standing agape in amazement. The children were holding each other jumping up and down, 7 year olds and younger yelling "this is awesome!!!"…. what a sight of humanity in sheer awe. My daughter in tears.
I stood, mouth open, dumbfounded, thinking of Sagan. No words… no words.

It passed so quickly. But that's life, isn't it? A spectacular moment. No amount of reading, or hearing people's descriptions, and certainly not this one, can touch what occurred. Its like describing God. You can't. You're not that.

What were the best parts of being in the Moon's Shadow? The Diamond Ring is awesome. Way more than awesome. It is other-worldly. Like the Sun disappeared and a brilliant space ship arrived, glowing off one side.

Its described as spiritual, transcendent, and yes, I have to agree. I've seen and experienced something I'll never forget (the first time is always memorable), and I did it with my pregnant daughter, her husband and his family, and many new friends who shared something that words can't touch. "They should have sent a poet." The kids will be talking about this in the year 2100....

Texas, 2024. Plans already made…..
« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 02:05:41 PM by Mark »

DDK

  • Moderator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 07:46:02 PM »
What you saw, Wags, was even more awesome than your description. The diamond ring and Bailey's Beads are what you see just as at the very beginning and end of totality, full sunlight peeking around mountains and craters on the Moon.

Your Diamond Ring was the solar corona, its outer atmosphere that we can only see during an eclipse. What you called Bailey's Beads were two bright prominences!
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

Prana

  • Guest
Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 10:30:16 PM »
I did see the Corona, during full totality, but didn't descibe it as it was tenuous and not the most amazing feature at totality.  I expected more streamers, and for it to be larger.  I'd estimate, from memory, it extended about 1x the solar diameter away from the black disk.  I don't think I've seen those prominences in photos yet....  the "Bailey's Beads" I saw were nearly concurrent with the Diamond Ring, maybe slightly after.  But then, having never seen a total eclipse before, I'm not experienced at this.

Where were you observe totality from?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 08:11:17 AM by Mark »

DDK

  • Moderator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 01:45:30 PM »
First time I've seen one of these, but sure have read about them a lot. The corona varies a lot according to what the Sun is doing, and how close the Moon is to us. Those spikes that looked like diffraction spikes coming off the Sun during totality, that was the corona.

Rozerman posted a brief and pithy OR, "Temperature drop of 20 degrees. High contrast double shadows of everything. Twisted asymetric Corona. Two naked eye prominences at 12:00 and 3:00. Brilliant diamond ring at 3rd contact."
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

Prana

  • Guest
Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 02:41:32 PM »
Interesting.  For me, the show was at 2nd contact.  Looked like a shock wave explosion moving away from the black disk, with spikes inbedded.  That is an *impression* - it all happened so fast and unexpectedly.  When fully eclipsed, the corona was twisted, for sure.  It just wasn't as big or well defined (internally) as I thought it might have been.  Temps, yes, chilly.  Shadows, really weird.  Color of sky around during Diamond Ring was eerie and amazing - odd blue.  Shadowy horizons were almost opaque with dim haze.  Whatever things were, I got my money's worth.  Mind-boggling.  Where did you go to see it?

DDK

  • Moderator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 05:06:37 PM »
You'd asked where I'd been, somehow knew I missed something. I stayed over in Prineville, just NE of Bend. The day before I'd scouted out a wide double turnout 8 miles NW of town, at the south edge of the Crooked River National Grasslands. 1'30" of totality, and I skipped all those writhing hordes in Madras (>20,000) just to the NW and the Ochoco Nat'l Forest to the NE (way >30,000). Don't like crowds.

A couple guys in a big orange truck were at that turnout all week, from the Oregon Dept of Transportation, Mike and Jim. Very good guys; their assignment was to cover that area for 5 days just to help travelers. And as it turned out, there were some 20 of us at that spot at 1020 on Monday. Congenial bunch.
Thanks for asking! I'll post my own OR next, just you wait and see.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>