Eclipse 2017 Wrap-up

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A montage of the partial phases - Liam O'Brien

Total eclipse 2017 was a big event in many ways,  not only was it the first total eclipse to cross the contagious United states in nearly a 100 years, but it was a door buster in terms of crowd size for both club members at White Memorial and those scattered across the lower 48, including Tennessee and North/South Carolina.  Images of the event abound, including these totality shots from members Mark Boeke and Liam O’Brien.

There were also these shots of the partial eclipse from club members manning the telescopes at the White Memorial.

Some photos of the crowds and telescopes:

A first hand account of the crowds from beleaguered member Russ Leonard:

Mark C., Jim K. and I had several scopes set up.  The crowd was enormous.  White Memorial staff estimated a crowd of between 750-1000 people.  Cars were parked out to the main road.  It was an overwhelming experience keeping the scopes aligned, answering questions etc.  A couple of members of the club decided to avoid the large crowd and set up on the hill. We could have used a couple of more scopes at the museum.  The lines were very long to view through the scopes. The sun funnel was a huge hit because groups of people could view at the same time.  Mark and I were so busy we did not even get to a chance to take photos or eat in my case.  I did manage a couple of iPad funnel shots.  Overall it was a great experience and by far a record number of people for a club specific activity.  (And thanks to members Chip and Shef for helping.)

Member Denis’s roving report from the boondocks of TN:

We went whole hog — arrived in western VA on Saturday… …drove 3.5 hours to Buffalo Valley, TN to a rest stop on I-40, right on the centerline of the area of totality.  Saw the total eclipse, (which I have never seen before).  Not like a partial – the sky gets quite dark, we saw Venus, the temperature dropped about 10-15 degrees, shadows became sharper.  Photo of totality looks exactly like a zillion others – a surprise, because I didn’t know what to expect, but not such a good shot.  (I’ll have photos later.)  Altogether, a supremely amazing experience – not enough superlatives…

Talked to people from Florida, Indiana, Sweden(!), saw plates from all over.  All enjoyed the experience.  Tennessee State Police were great – organized, helpful, courteous.

Member Mark B.:  I took the wife and kids to Myrtle Beach for a couple of days, and planned to drive south ~50 miles to the totality zone on the day of the eclipse.  Because the weather forecast was not good for the coast on eclipse day, I changed my plans and decided to head inland where the forecast was more promising.  I ended up picking Lexington, SC just based on it being ~centered in the totality zone and having an improved forecast relative to the coast.  When I got there, I just looked up what parks were in town from a Google search and picked a soccer club location to set up.  There were several dozens of other people there as well, which made it fun because I met some new people that were either photographing, observing, or participating in a ham radio scientific study to understand how ionosphere changes during an eclipse affect radio wave transmissions.

From Gerri Griswold, Director of Administration and Development at White Memorial:

Who EVER saw this coming!!!!???  I figured maybe 100.  I knew it would be well attended but never in my wildest dreams did I think State Police would close Bissell Road due to traffic!

At 1pm our Executive Director counted 250 cars.  On behalf of the Conservation center I’d like to deeply thank all of you for the extraordinary effort you put out yesterday.  Holy Mackerel!  What an event!!!!

I guess we should start preparing now for April 8, 2024?  I am so grateful to all of you.


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Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club