Did You Witness the Eclipse?

Today in St. Louis and across the midwestern US, we witnessed either a partial or total solar eclipse (depending on your exact location).

Megan and some friends headed about 90 minutes south to be in the totality zone; I opted to stay with Walter and work. I was prepared with the glasses and various eclipse-themed treats, though, and I had a timer set for 2:00.

However, I didn’t need the timer to inform me that the eclipse was here, as our entire condo rather suddenly got really dark. That surprised me, as I didn’t think I’d notice anything different in the partial zone. But it was quite distinct.

I wanted to be outside when the eclipse was at its zenith, so I took Walter out on the patio with me. I soon understood something that had previously baffled me: I didn’t know why people were excited to look at the sun during the eclipse. Sure, it’s different, but looking at the sun is famously a bad idea.

But as I sat out on the patio with Walter, I understood at least part of it: In the partial zone, there really isn’t anything else to look. The world around you remains the same, other than maybe the shadows, which are a little eerie. But beyond that, other than the darkness in the condo, the only thing I could find that’s different is the sun itself. I was still wary to look at it for more than a few seconds, though (through the glasses).

That said, I’ve seen some photos of friends in the totality zone, and the sky was dark. I bet that was surreal.

As for how it felt, the world did seem a little colder and quieter. There were still birds and insects around–nature didn’t stop operating–but there was a nice calm to the world for a few minutes. Walter was very chill–he spent 30 minutes basking in the sun.

From this experience, I’m not sure if I’ll travel to see the eclipse in 2044. I’m intrigued, yes, and I feel like I may have missed out on the intagible aspect sharing the eclipse with others. But the partial eclipse satiated most of my curiosity

How was your eclipse experience (this one or others in the past)?

6 thoughts on “Did You Witness the Eclipse?”

  1. Did you happen to catch the 2017 eclipse? Having seen that one in totality and this one as a partial, I’d say a total eclipse is about a thousand times cooler than a partial eclipse.

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  2. I was at work, in Champaign IL, nowhere close to totality, but it was super cool to witness the eclipse through the safety glasses. I’ll be 60 when the next one comes, don’t know if I’ll travel for it, but it seems like it would be awesome to witness!

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  3. A friend invited me to go but I’m too lazy to travel and too much stuff to tend to. Though I guess if I was only 90 minutes away I probably would have gone.

    From inside, it seemed to be normal, but I kind of imagined there was something weird about the shadows or lighting, but maybe that was just me. Outside, everything seemed normal. I used a slotted spoon to look at the eclipse and did a quick video on my iPhone because apparently the sun can damage the phone too which I did not know.

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  4. I’ve experienced both what you did with the partial eclipse, and twice experienced totality. The difference is literally night and day. Whether it is worth the travel hassle to experience 2-4 minutes of absolute awe and magic is of course a personal choice… but you did not have anything remotely approaching the totality eclipse experience, and photos do not do the experience justice, any more than the do for being near a rocket launch, Niagara Falls, a tornado, or an earthquake.

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    • It’s interesting the multiple people have said that, and honestly I think it’s a little reductive of my experience. I had a really neat experience with the partial eclipse yesterday (99% coverage of the sun), one that I was absolutely in awe of. While I respect your opinion and I understand that totality is a different experience (I made no claims that what I experienced was “anything remotely approaching the totality eclipse experience”), I’m happy with my choice.

      Reply

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