Total eclipse of the Sun, August 21, 2017. Tennessee.
Most experienced astronomers would concede that a total solar eclipse is the most powerful and gorgeous of all observable celestial phenomena. A vivid display of the northern lights is not too shabby either. I thought it was amazing. It is one of the few ways to directly experience the movement of the universe.
A total eclipse is relatively rare. It cannot happen like this anywhere else in our solar system. But on earth one happens maybe once a year. And, in any given place, a totality occurs on average just once every 375 years. The Chinese word for solar eclipse is shih, meaning, “to eat.” In ancient China people traditionally beat drums and banged on pots to scare off the “heavenly dog” believed to be devouring the sun.
During the eclipse on August 21, 2017, from Rickman Tennessee, the light became eerie as totality approached. The light streaming through the leaves of trees showed bright small crescent shapes of moon biting into the sun. The temperature dropped, the bugs fired up loudly, birds became silent. Stars were visible in the twilight. Venus, Jupiter could be seen. One amazing thing is to view the delicate wispy structure of the sun’s normally invisible corona which is only visible during totality.
Here are a few pictures and video of the event.
Viewing the total eclipse. Film starts from 1 minute before totality, through 2 minutes of totality. There is an interesting lens flare from the sun in the top of the frame. Shot with a GoPro Hero 4. 800x speed. Full length version here
Total eclipse of the sun compiled from stills. Proir to totality photos are through a sun filter. During totality no filter used. I added a foreground of giant climbing vines that infest the area. Thanks to Mara for shooting many of the photos.
Four phases of the eclipse. Early in progress, just entering totality, totality, and just coming out of totality.
There is a giant invasive vine down there that takes over anything in its path.
In order to get to the eclipse zone we drove down to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky (1,100 km) for a few days of cycling, then drove further south to the eclipse zone (100km) on the Monday of the eclipse.
The intrepid group who made the trip: Mara, Alene, John and Elizabeth.
Rickman, in the 2 minute band of totality.
Some beautiful cycling down in Kentucky.
Many colourful friendly characters
The cresent shape of the eclipse on the ground projected through the trees.