Since I had to work the day of the 2017 Solar Eclipse, I asked Jackie Beucher, Vice President of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, to do a recap of the celestial event. As Chair of the 2017 Eclipse Committee for ASKC and self-proclaimed “eclipse chaser” (10 and counting!), I knew she would have the inside scoop from her front-row seat!
Eclipse – 8-21-17
Rosecrans Airport, St. Joseph, Mo.
Totality: 2 min, 39.2 seconds
It was a dark and rainy day…… Yes, it really was! Just about everywhere north and east of Kansas City there were clouds coming and going, so a clear blue sky just was not going to happen. I had 20 people committed to be with me up at the Rosecrans Airport in St. Joseph, and I assured them all that chances were good enough – we would see it!
We did heed the warnings about excessive traffic, and all met at my home in Overland Park (KS) at 4:00 AM. It was a caravan of 5 cars full of people up to St. Joe. We got there in plenty of time, with no traffic issues, and got busy setting up our area in the RV section. I’d bought a new canopy, 10 ft x 20 ft,, as a place for us to get in out of the sun. Ha! It sure came in handy during the few rain showers.
First contact arrived, when the moon began its trek across the sun… we saw that easy enough. Cheers were heard from all over the airport. More clouds rolled in…. and another rain shower. It was getting darker and darker….
Second contact (totality) began behind the clouds, but the eclipsed sun, the black hole of the moon, soon were visible through the clouds. The corona was there, and even a prominence or two visible on the west side. YES!! This surely did mean success. This was the first eclipse for my friends and family, and my 10th. I saw the tears of joy running down some faces. It is just so thrilling!
During the day, I spent some time with some of the TV folks, and a lot of time with BBC radio, who were there from London, broadcasting all over the world. It was pretty cool to share totality with them. After 3rd contact (totality over), they took some questions from folks around the world. I’d spent much of the past 6 months giving talks about the eclipse; how it happens, where you needed to be, etc. I about choked up when a man asked, “ So, can the sun ever eclipse the moon so we can’t see the moon?” Thankfully, he wasn’t from around the local area. Ah… much work is yet to be done.
Totality!!! Yes!!! We saw it. It wasn’t as beautiful and glorious as it was for others across the country, but it was enough for us. We all went home happy. I’ve been so pleased to hear from many who made the effort to go north and see totality after hearing me speak about it. Now THAT made everything successful for me.
Already looking forward to 7-2-19 in Chile, South America!
Though I wasn’t in the path of totality like Jackie, I was able to step outside to capture this pic of the eclipse shadows through the trees. How did you spend the eclipse?
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