August 23, 2017

Eclipse 2017

Eclipse. I saw it. Totality. So amazing! More amazing than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be amazing.

We picked Paducah, KY, for our eclipse watching destination, as any self-respecting quilter would do.  The exhibits at the National Quilt Museum are so thoughtful and beautifully displayed.  It's so heartwarming to have this institution preserving and promoting the creativity and successes of our dedicated quilt artists.   

Illinois, on the way to Paducah.

We decided to watch the eclipse at West Kentucky Community Technical College. They opened up the campus, had programming, parking lots, air conditioned buildings (it was in the 90s), shade, grassy places to sit, and lots of sky. Perfect in every way!

My eclipse tool of choice, inspired by online photos. It is just so funny that I had to do it.

For comparison sake, the view before it all changed.... to the north and to the west.

Pinhole in a box: the very beginning.

And then, the colander took over.  Crescents galore!

Clouds are starting to pick up some color.  Crescents are getting deeper.

And here comes totality. Darkening skies and sunset colors at the horizons, all 360 degrees around!

At totality:  My camera couldn't show what my eyes were seeing, but it did do this fun thing.

What we saw was the shimmering corona around a black circle, the most intense black I have ever seen, against a denim blue sky. It looked for all the world like someone had used a hole punch to remove the sun, and opened up the sky to the depths of the universe beyond. It also looked like an otherworldly flower that had been somehow attached to the sky.  It looked 3-D!  Just soooooo amazing!!!

For photos most similar to what we saw, visit Wendy Carlos’s eclipse page.  Click on any photo to enlarge.  

The ones that are closest to my views are: 
1980 - for the general, flower-like shape (coronal shape varies from eclipse to eclipse)
the 2001 landscape view
These show pretty well how stunningly, intensely, deeply dark the moon’s dark side is against the sun’s corona.  (Unlike the landscape shot that taken with a wide angle lens, the sun filled more of my field of vision than it does in the photo, so was intensely amazing).

And the light returns, and the crescents now face the other way.

Artsy shot. Also, you may notice that the little holes in my straw hat were also making crescents. They were skinny though, and didn't photograph well.

The crescents get chunkier.

And now, our 11-hour incredible journey home. We started out heading east instead of north, taking a less congested route.  The clouds were another spectacular sky show.



A while later, after turning north, more clouds, and a short rain. The now revitalized sun was getting lower.

And so, out the other side of the car, the creation of setting sun + rain.

After the rain, poof, clouds cleared and left us with yet another wonderful sky.  Sunset colors started coming along, this time actually at a sunset time of day, not 1:00 in the afternoon.

The sun was back in fine form, celebrating perhaps.

It was really getting too dark to photograph from a moving car very well, but this was the last hurrah of a day of wonderful (meaning full of wonder) skies.

After nightfall, it was possible to see the rows of tourists heading northward. We apparently were all following the same GPS instructions, so funny!  My husband dubbed this "the fleet".  It was nice to have the companionship.  You'll notice that there's a steady stream of northbound cars and only one, lone southbound car in sight.

And, finally, home again. I had to carry that colander into the house somehow.....

Two days later, and I am still lost in the wonder of it all.

P.S.  Here is the quilt I made to commemorate the stunning beauty of the eclipse!


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