Monday we had the opportunity to pull both of our kids out of school and drive a little over an hour into Kentucky so that we were in the totality zone for the Great American Eclipse of 2017. Our city got to see a little over 98% of the eclipse but we had read that there is a big difference between that percentage and actual totality. I’m so glad we decided to brave the traffic and go. It was absolutely worth the effort.
We got up early and packed a cooler full of breakfast, lunch, and snacks, as well as some stuff for the kids to do while we waited. We arrived at the Madisonville City Park before 9 am. It was perfect because it wasn’t too terribly crowded, and they had food vendors, bathrooms, and first aid services. It was actually really fun to be hanging out with other people who were there just for the eclipse.
The kids played for awhile while we waited. We also had made a couple of box viewers, and Eric had devised a way to project the eclipse onto poster board. Someone close to us had a projection set up using binoculars, so we got to walk over and take a peek here and there to see what it looked like. We had also made full face masks using the special glasses and paper plates because I wanted to minimize the chances of the kids accidentally seeing the sun without the glasses.
Around 20 minutes before totality, things started to look a little eerie outside. It had a dusk-like appearance and the shadows on the cars through the trees revealed the shape of the sun with the partial eclipse.
At one point, you could hear the crickets start singing and then darkness fell. It was breathtaking in a way I’ve never experienced before. The stars came out and once I couldn’t see anything with the glasses, I took them off and accidentally saw the diamond ring right before it hit totality. I realized what I was looking at immediately and looked away. I was a little nervous but I could still see just fine the day after, so hopefully I haven’t damaged anything!
Totality only lasted between one and two minutes and then it was like someone just flipped a switch and the light started to come back, slowly but surely. The crickets went away. We had the dusk-like atmosphere and it started getting brighter and brighter.
It was an awesome experience, and now I can’t wait until the eclipse we will have in our hometown in 2024!