So, those of you hanging around my newsletter and social media will know that my family traveled Nashville, TN to catch my first Solar Eclipse. You will also probably note that I said on several occasions, “It will take just one cloud to ruin this show,” and “I bet it will snow.” Well, it did not snow but…
We got to Nashville on Saturday way ahead of the crowds. We had been planning this trip for almost a year so we had everything worked out, including very nice sets of plastic Solar Eclipse glasses, and a pile of extra glasses to give away. Good thing too! We did not even make it out of the airport before we started giving them away. I feel that we single handily saved many people’s vision in Nashville. I figure that should warrant me a statue in the center of town, or at least at the science museum. Still waiting to hear back about that, I will let y’all know when I do.
So, the morning of the Eclipse we started with a huge breakfast at Shoney’s. Once we felt we were sufficiently fueled for the day we headed poolside to claim a table and chairs before too many people arrived. The place we were staying was fully booked so there were plenty of other people to watch with us. The resort set up some grills and was selling food including moon piles and sun chips of course. They were also giving out Eclipse gum, which my son snatched up faster than a hen on a june bug.
The morning was almost completely cloudless and things were looking good as the event started. It was hot, very hot, but we just kept taking dips in the pool to cool down as the day wore on. Despite jokes from my sister on how funny it would be if the scientists got the date and time wrong, the event started right on time. At first, all you could see was a tiny notch in the side of the sun, but as time when on that notch got larger and larger eventually yielding something I had never seen before: a crescent sun.
Some people had set up telescopes and projection cameras so we were able to use them in addition to our eyeballs to witness the event. In the magnified views, you could spot some sun spots, and if you looked at just the right time the International Space Station passed in front of the sun. I did not see it, but there are many pictures on the web. Had I known in advance, I would have tried to capture it on the projection screen.
So, as the big moment approached, the temperature fell and the crickets came out, and darkness started to fall. All was going well until a massive dark storm cloud slowly came through and just before, maybe a minute at most, totality the cloud swallowed the view. People all around us groan and complained, but the clouds did not care. My sister was just starting to say that even with the clouds it was still a cool experience when we heard cheers break out.
And just like that the clouds parted and revealed the eclipse in totality! It was magnificent! No picture can do it justice, especially not the cell phone pictures I added to this blog. The best I can say to describe it, is it looked like a hole in reality. We were treated to a full minute of totality (the rest was blocked by the cloud), and then the diamond came out. That was stunning in and of itself.
I have to say, the view was worth the trip. I heard that some places got rained out and I feel bad for them. All I can say is the next USA eclipse will be in 2024. Start planning now.