Countdown to the Eclipse

As I gazed up at a nearly full Moon this evening I realized that the countdown is quite short now. When that Moon is new again it will pass in front of the Sun to create a total solar eclipse.

Luna
The Moon one day short of full.
This will be my first total solar eclipse in nearly four decades. Not since 1979 have I witnessed a total eclipse. Over those decades I have seen many partial eclipses, quite a few lunar eclipses, a few transits of Mercury, and one transit of Venus.

I have been anticipating and planning this trip for many years. It was after the transit of Venus in 2012 that I really turned my attention to the next major astro-event. Laying out plans to camp somewhere in Eastern Oregon where the viewing is likely to be excellent.

I have been aware of this impending eclipse for over a decade, astronomers tend to plan these things well ahead of time. I was planning ahead to the transit of Venus as soon as I arrived in the islands, six years ahead.

Venus Transit Second Contact
Transit of Venus 2012, second contact at 12:27pm
I am not the eclipse chaser that some of my friends are. We have a few folks in our little astronomy club that have seen several total solar eclipses over the last decade, cruising to Indonesia or flying to Easter Island to see the Moon pass in front of the Sun.

They return with photos and tales of adventures to fill club meetings. I have been more patient, looking forward to August, 2017. A patience growing thin as the date finally approaches.

Fourteen days, half of a lunar orbit, the date draws ever closer. Each day the Moon will wane as it approaches the Sun. The plans are laid, the airline tickets purchased, the equipment and cameras await a test run before final packing. I am really ready to go. I just need to abide for a few more days.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

2 thoughts on “Countdown to the Eclipse”

  1. It cracks me up to say this, but it looks like Wyoming is going to be ……crowded ….Glendo , population 200 might hit 20,000 people. This is actually a serious logistical nightmare. Think we are talking the Cessna 180 to East Nebraska to beat the crowds.

    1. Same issue in Oregon. We will be in position days ahead of time, and will not try to drive back to Portland until at least a full day after the eclipse. In the meantime we will be completely self sufficient.

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