Friday, August 25, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Heart

So when I first realized we would be very close to the path of the total solar eclipse this year, I really didn't think it would be necessary to drive to see it.  I mean, we would likely see 90% totality.  That should be enough, right?  Then, the more I heard about it, the more I realized that any partial eclipse would not really be visible without special eclipse glasses (the sun would still be too bright to look at with the naked eye) and would barely even be recognizable with only slight darkening of the skies.  Then, the week of the eclipse in our area was forecasted to be a very cloudy and rainy week so it was very likely we would see nothing.  So I finally at the last minute decided we should take the boys out of school (it had already been announced as an excused absence that day) and drive a couple of hours to the closest viewing area that wasn't under cloud cover.  We drove to the small town of Orangeburg, SC just south of Columbia along with thousands of other people from all over the country.  This little town played host to many of these eclipse travelers.  We went to the local Chick-fil-a to grab a quick bite for lunch before the eclipse, and it was so crowded inside, we just got our food and ate in the car while watching the partial eclipse with our eclipse glasses and our shoebox viewer.  We met some other awesome travelers in the parking lot and just set up to watch together.  I do think the most amazing part of events like this is how it brings people together.  Everyone was nice except the one car who decided to honk their horn at us right in the middle of the total eclipse because they just couldn't understand why everyone else was stopped and watching the darkened skies and amazing view.  I guess they missed the memo.  Haha!

We have our eclipse glasses from Amazon and our shoebox to view the partial eclipse and are ready to hit the road. 

A little car picnic lunch at Chick-fil-a. 

The beginning of the eclipse through the shoebox viewer and with the glasses on the camera.  I actually took all of these pictures with my phone camera because it is often easier to take pictures in different lighting with it.  Camera phones have really come so far. 

We actually didn't let Mattox sit outside and look at the eclipse for very long because he could not be trusted to use the glasses on his own.  I don't really know if he could actually see anything since everything through the glasses looks pitch black except the bright spot of the sun. 

Evan was actually quite paranoid to be outside without his glasses after all the hype over the eclipse and talk at school about the dangers.  I tried to explain to him that it was really no more dangerous than any other day outside in bright sunlight and that you should never look directly at the sun anyway.  

Just wearing our cool shades for pictures. 

My silly boys. 

That big bright orb in the sky sure can do amazing things.  I think my favorite part was still the halfmoon shapes the partial eclipse made when filtered through the trees. 

I don't know why Brody thought he needed the glasses to look down at the ground. 

My boys at the total solar eclipse of 2017. 

It was neat watching it gradually get darker all in the space of less than 30 minutes. 

Some nice folks from Charlotte took our picture. 

Getting closer and really seeing the moon shape in the shoebox viewer.  I enjoyed "wearing" the eclipse moons.

Looking like twilight now. 

The nighttime outdoor lights came on.  And the store employees were viewing from on top of the restaurant. 

I actually just took a video of the actual eclipse to capture the moment as it would have been difficult to take pictures and enjoy it.  I took some still shots of the video to show the actual ring and three awesome falling stars that were also visible in the darkened sky.  It was weird to see the streetlights all come on in the middle of the day.  Evan and Brody talked a lot about the "ring of power" after this.   You know, the one ring to rule them all.  Ha!

On the drive home, we made another awesome discovery when we stopped in a little town in rural SC to get some yummy homemade ice cream and explore this little "old western" town.  I do wonder if they use this for something special.  

There were a whole bunch of buildings with signs. 

There was a large stage on the train station so I wonder if they do performances here.  I wished the stores were actually occupied. 

The boys liked the jail and tried to see if any prisoners were inside.  

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