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Solar Eclipse (Oregon, August 2017)

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I understand that it is likely to miss weather events because they are usually obscured by the clouds that carry all the beautiful rain. In Minnesota, we were able to see a full blood moon which was pretty cool. The big sky event of 2017 was the solar eclipse and it was crossing Oregon. Stranger still, we weren’t expecting many clouds and were likely able to see it. In Minnesota, some were making plans to travel into the path of totality in Montana, Wyoming, and Missouri and were were dreaming of home.

We didn’t make specific plans to see the eclipse. A friend in the path of totality had invited us to her place, but with our epic July road trip on the horizon, we hadn’t committed. Once we arrived in Oregon in early August, and without work to interfere, we solidified plans and invited friends to join us.

First: Glasses

As you know, it is very unwise to look directly at the sun. That's still true even when part of it is obscured by another celestial object. As luck would have it, we stayed at our friends for the weeks leading up to the eclipse and upon walking Euro around the neighborhood I noticed the fire department was giving away free glasses. There was a huge debacle about glasses sold by Amazon and people paying outrageous “tourist” prices, but we got ours thanks to the fire department!

Second: Place to View

Oregon is well-known for the trees. Something you must always take into consideration for viewing practically everything. Luckily, my friend’s neighbor had a large back area where we could set up, but even better we were able to scoot just beyond and into a huge empty field.

Plaid Pinecone-2017 Solar Eclipse. people seated in large open dry grass field for the solar eclipse in Dayton, OR

Third: Timing is Everything

The full eclipse occurred between 10:15 and 10:25am, lasting just under a minute. At 9:45, we set-up our chairs and cameras and settled the dogs in time for the big moment.

Michael made a video of the landscape during the solar eclipse. We didn’t take video of the eclipse itself, but rather captured the effects of the eclipse on the planet. I know, that's a bit ‘deep’ and existential. The feeling of the experience was much more exciting than actually watching the moon pass over the sun.

It got cold

It got dark and in the periphery you could glimpse the some stars

It got windy

The totality lasted less than a minute, but seemed pass quicker than that. It was barely enough time to see the full eclipse before it was back out of totality and beginning its opposite journey.

I am happy that we were able to witness such an amazing celestial event and it ended up on our Year in Review: 2017. And might even do it again if the convenience arises. We probably won't travel specifically for a view, but I could be wrong. One thing I have learned is that plans change and we could definitely take a detour during a trips. I added this to my list of trip planning tips.

A note on traffic: The local news had called out the worst-case scenarios. Possibilities of spending the night on the highway, no toilet facilities, and cash/grocery/gas shortages. There was traffic and there were a ton of people. From our vantage point though, it wasn’t anywhere near to the disaster they painted as a possibility. In our location, everything ran pretty smooth. In others, there was more traffic and waiting, but nothing seemed to be anywhere near the worst case scenarios.

Did you see the eclipse? How was the experience from your perspective? Comment on this blog post.

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