Eclipse totality or bust!


Madison Heninger, Staff Reporter

This past Sunday, I packed everything I needed into a car and set out for the 7 hour drive to the small town of Dover, Tennessee. I had been planning a camping trip to watch the solar eclipse in its totality for months and I was very exhilarated that it was finally happening. It might seem pretty strange to travel so far to see two minutes of the moon covering the sun, but I have a spirited passion for astronomy and solar eclipses are very occasional.

When Monday arrived, my family and I were invited to watch the eclipse with a group of retired astronomical researchers. They had two different highly advanced telescopes set up to take closer looks at the process of the eclipse. We all took the proper safety precautions such as using solar lenses on the telescopes and wearing the proper glasses when looking at the sun.

Telescope pointed toward the eclipse

The moon began to visibly cover the sun around 1:20 P.M. When sunlight shown through the trees, it casted crescent-shaped shadows on the sidewalk because of the way that the moon partially covered the sun. With each passing minute, the sky grew darker and the temperature dropped ever so slightly. It was hard to remember to take photos because of how awestruck I was.

At exactly 1:26 P.M., the moon had completely covered the sun. The world around me looked as if the sun had just set. I could hear nocturnal animals start to make noise, assuming it was night. It was such an unusual yet amazing experience to see the effects of the eclipse around me. In that moment, I felt that I was experiencing history first-hand as it happened.

As quickly as it seemed to begin, it was suddenly over. The moon slowly crept away and sunlight filled the sky again. After thanking the group of people who we watched the eclipse with, we all went back to our camp sites in amazement of the event we had witnessed.