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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Viewing the Eclipse in Grand Island, Nebraska

There is little noticeable darkening of the day as a solar eclipse approaches totality until the last few percent of the sun's disc is covered.  A deeply cloudy day filters 80 or more percent of the sun and your eye will easily compensate for the loss.  The last few percent of the sun's surface disappears relatively quickly if you are in the path of totality and that is the reason for making the trip.  It is almost like sliding a dimmer switch slowly to the off position.

As the darkening was just becoming apparent to my eye, I decided to shoot some video of the surrounding eclipse watchers with my subcompact pocket digital camera.  Just after I began, I saw the shadows of a flock of 80+ geese pass by on the ground.  I looked up to follow them as many others were doing and continued to follow them as the poor things experienced this surprise of nature in the early afternoon.  The tight V-shaped formation broke and it was every goose for themselves!

Over the course of a minute, as the sky darkened, the effect was spectacular as you can tell from the reaction of the crowd.  The sun's corona was bright - and white as any light I have ever seen.  Venus appeared nearby.  Was that really two and a half minutes of totality?  It felt like thirty seconds.
GI-1 GI-2

Here's the video.

I never did get back to the camera on the tripod.  The geese video beats anything I would have gotten otherwise.

After totality, we crossed the street to Hall County Veterans Park where I found a serious photographer/astronomer who was set up with a telescope, camera, laptop and associated gear to get some great pictures.  He showed me a couple of his pictures and let me look through the eyepiece of the setup to watch the receding crescent.



I have seven years to get properly equipped for the next eclipse.  I now see why people chase these things.

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