On Monday, 8/21/17, I had the opportunity to experience the total eclipse of the sun in Carbondale, IL. We chose Carbondale because that is where the complete blackout of the sun (called "totality") lasted the longest of anywhere along the path of the eclipse -- a full 2 minutes and 42 seconds. We arrived Sunday night and woke up early Monday to scout out a good viewing location. We found a picturesque park and boat landing on Crab Orchard Lake about 2 miles east of Carbondale. We were joined by about 100 other people, some who had come from as far away as Atlanta, to experience this event.
The 2 minutes and 42 seconds of total solar blackout was fantastic. When you read about the eclipse and see pictures and video online you know it is something special. But, actually experiencing it in person exceeded all expectations. Nothing you read or see on the Internet prepares you for that moment when the sun is so blacked out by the moon that you can actually see the corona of the sun.
Of course during totality it gets very dark, but not totally dark. The sky is dark enough that you can see Venus and Jupiter. As totality sets in cicadas begin chirping, confused by the apparent early arrival of dusk. There is an eerie blue cast to everything. The temperature drops. (It felt like a 10 degree F drop to me.) The corona is visible to the naked eye and looks like the most brilliant jewel you have ever seen. Everyone around you is awe struck. The experience brings tears to some people's eyes.
I will definitely go to see the next North American total eclipse in April 2024. No question about it.
Like I said, words and screen images do not give you the full sense of awe you feel when you see it for yourself. With that said, here are some shots of some of the people we were hanging with and some screen grabs from a the video I shot.
These are frame grabs from my "not so great" video recording of totality. I think the audio is as interesting as the image. (No, the audio is more interesting -- because no video captures the image as brilliantly as your own eyes.) If you bother to watch the full recording -- it is about two minutes and 18 seconds long. I started recording about 35 seconds after the start of totality and went right through the "Diamond Ring" at the end.
See a few more shots, and the complete video from this event in my eclipse gallery.