The 'Great All American Eclipse' on August 21, 2017

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On August 21, 2017 the Great All American Eclipse took place. This page is a report of my trip to the United States of America.

The logo indicates the path of totality for this eclipse.

The totally eclipsed Sun at 10:22:36 local time.

New York Times August 14,1932

The total solar eclipse of 2017 has been expected since long. The New York Times of 1932 already indicated that this would be an excellent opportunity to view a total solar eclipse. The writer of the 1932 article stated that the US eclipses of 1970 and 1979 would likely have unfavourable conditions.

The total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 was one Saros period (18 years and 10 or 11 1/3 days) after the Europeam eclipse of August 11, 1999. After such a period a similar eclipse takes place some 120 degrees more to the West.

The central lines of the total solar eclipses of 1999 and 2017.

On August 13 we flew from Amsterdam to Chicago. During the flight we could see Greenland.

I took a selfie in the mirrors of the Cloud Gate ("The Bean") in Chicago's Millennium Park. On August 16 we flew to Portland, Oregon, and and visited the areas around Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River.

The Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River. 1200 MW of hydropower is generated here.

Mount St. Helens, 37 years after the big eruption.

The path of totality in Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming is shown above. The path is approximately 60 miles wide. Our viewing location was in the town of John Day, OR.

On August 19 we drove to the town John Day in Oregon, which has a population of some 1700. In the news there were stories that more than ten thousand people would visit John Day. That was a little bit exaggerated.

Boys with toys

Early 2015 I already had reserved a bungalow in John Day, and invited friends to join us for the event. Wheather prospects looked fine.

On Sunday morning at 5:40 I could see the crescent of the Moon, about 28 hours before the start of totality. A beautiful sight.

On Monday morning we walked to our observing location 4425'28"N 11857'13"W. Sunny skies with some high altitude thin clouds. We heard that a week earlier there had been wild fires. The picture shows my carbon Gitzo tripod with my old Canon 30D and 70-200 zoom with 1.4 extender. This effectively yields a 280 mm. As a stabelizing weigth I used as gallow can of water. During the partial phase of the eclipse I had an Astrosolar filter attached to my lens, which lets pass only 1/1000 % of the light of the Sun. During totality this filter is removed.

Eclipse trips are allways an adventure. After the crocodile warnings in Cairns (Australia, 2012) we now had to watch out for rattle snakes!

During the partial phase of the eclipse you can see images of the partial obscured Sun upside down. This picture is taken around 10 am. About ten minutes before totality we could see the planet Venus at about 70 altitude.

The partial eclipse started aroundd 9:08 am. The picture on the lefs shows a small dent in the Sun. One hour later the Sun is a thin crescent. About 15 seconds before totality the Astrosolar filter can be removed. At 10:22:17 the diamond ring became visible. Totality started at 10:22:30 and lasted two minutes and two seconds.
10:22:23 10:22:27 10:22:30


Totality mid eclipse at 10:23:27 aod on the right a wide angle view of the totally eclipsed Sun.
High-five after the end of totality. Almost a perfect total solar eclipse, although totality is always too short. Late afternoon we celebrated with champagne from California.

Later I discovered the star Regulus on my pictures. Seen above with enhanced contrast.

Link to old page on this eclipse