There was a solar eclipse and my area wasn’t in the path of totality (which spanned across 14 states – Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia), but we got about 93% totality.
This was the first solar eclipse to appear anywhere over the lower 48 states since 1979.
My friend Matt and I managed to get a few decent pictures. They aren’t great but they are pretty good for a simple point and shoot camera. We put the eclipse glasses over the lens which worked out better than I expected.
This picture was taken right at the very beginning of the solar eclipse. You can see the moon has just barely started to cover the sun.
Here is one that was taken when the moon was covering up quite a bit of the sun. You can tell on one side that the camera shook a little bit while taking this. But this is the clearest picture I got. Here are a few more but you can see how jittery they look.
What I find absolutely amazing is that we had about 93% totality here and even with that much of the sun blocked, it didn’t get very dark at all. That really goes to show just how powerful our sun is.
But it did get noticeably…surreal, for lack of a better word. Even though it was still quite bright out, it did look darker somehow. Almost as if the world was a photograph and someone turned down the saturation on all the colors. There was a noticeable change in temperature as well, but it wasn’t a huge drop. Generally, during totality of a solar eclipse temperatures drop about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. But temperature drops as big as 28 degrees have been recorded.
Even though I we didn’t see complete totality where I live, it was still a pretty awesome experience. The entire solar eclipse from beginning to end lasted about 3 hours, although the peak was only a few minutes.
History Of Solar Eclipses
Before people understood what solar eclipses are, they were usually seen as a bad omen. In some parts of the world people would do everything they could to get the sun to come back. In China, people would shoot arrows at the sun to try to make it catch fire again. Over in Europe many people thought a monster or a dragon was trying to eat the sun. So they would make as much noise by banging on pots and pans to try to scare it away.
In 585 BC, two armies in eastern Turkey that were at war saw an eclipse and thought it was a sign to put their weapons down and make peace.
By the late 1800s scientists could take photographs of solar eclipses which helped them study the sun’s corona. The total eclipse of 1919 helped scientists confirm the bending of starlight by gravity which is something Albert Einstein had predicted in his theory of relativity.
In 1973 scientists studying eclipses used a Concorde supersonic jet flying at 1,250 miles per hour to stay inside the shadow of the moon. This extended the time of totality to over an hour, which is 10 times longer than totality lasts on earth.
Fewer than 1 in 1,000 people have seen an actual total solar eclipse. We only got 93% in Princeton, but it was still pretty cool. I think I’m going to try to see a total eclipse the next time we have one which will be April 8, 2024. Cleveland, Ohio will be the closest place to me that will get totality.
Did you get any good photos of the eclipse? If so, you might be interested in my other article How To Make Money With Your Photos.