August 21, 2017

Chasing a break in the clouds to get a look at the 85% solar eclipse.

It was overcast here today in Madison, so we jumped in the car and headed for the blue:

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About 40 minutes north we pulled over where if all else failed we still had a great look at the prairie:

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We got a nice crisp view of the eclipse using the glasses I'd picked up at Walmart. I shared my glasses with Meade and with a nice couple from Mineral Point who happened to drive up. After the peak of the eclipse, we drove a short distance to Palfrey's Glen, where the eclipse affected the dappling light:

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And we hiked all the way to the waterfall, where a big patch of light gave an excellent view of the last part of the eclipse:

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On the way back home, we took the Merrimac Ferry across Lake Wisconsin:

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47 comments:

mccullough said...

Man in shorts

dustbunny said...

Palpfrey's Glen photo looks like a Neil Weliver painting

Big Mike said...

Glad you and Meade enjoyed yourselves, but do you realize that you never did explain for us ignorant folks what the "five egregious errors" are.

Quaestor said...

I drove nearly 500 hundred miles today to see the eclipse in totality under clear skies.

It was worth it.

Hagar said...

But what about the 5 things that are egregiously wrong with that picture.?

Ann Althouse said...

Not shorts. Rolled up pants for walking in the rocky stream ( which was very fun).

Ann Althouse said...

"Glad you and Meade enjoyed yourselves, but do you realize that you never did explain for us ignorant folks what the "five egregious errors" are."

Just a joke and a prompt to get you to be critical.

David Begley said...

Wisconsin is so beautiful. Nearly as nice as Nebraska.

john said...

So you drove NORTH to get a better view?

Mark said...

Drove north as well. Ended up a little north of you at the Int'l Crane Foundation. Almost took the ferry back as well, but the kiddo wanted to go through Sauk and Culver's.

meb said...

Meade passed the "stop here" signs - what a rebel. Hopefully you stayed clear of the wild parsnip.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Decided yesterday to pick a new spot based on cloud projections. Ended up in a cemetery in Saluda SC. At the time of totality the sky was completely clear. The view was literally awesome--more impressive than I imagined! Took back roads home and missed most traffic. A great day!
I hope everyone else's was just as good.

The Godfather said...

@HoodlumDoodlum: Good for you! I'm glad you experienced it. As I've mentioned on other threads, I experienced a total eclipse in 1963, and have never forgotten it. I felt no need to drive down to SC to experience another total eclipse, because I remember that one so well. But my wife, who'd never seen even a partial eclipse, got a thrill from seeing (through the appropriate glasses of course) 97% of the sun covered by the moon, and the crescent-shaped sunshine images through the leaves of the trees. Our dogs interpreted the reduction in sunlight as meaning it was dinner time. It's a marvelous world.

I'm glad the Meadhouses enjoyed it.

traditionalguy said...

The announcer mentioned that we get another total solar eclipse over the USA in 2024. Then it gets rare again. Trump will be President at the beginning and at the end of this excitement.

Ann Althouse said...

We would have driven to Nebraska. Reasons not to explained in other post.

Reason for driving north explained here: trying to get out from under clouds.

Big Mike said...

Just a joke and a prompt to get you to be critical.

You bugger!!!

Earnest Prole said...

The most charming thing in a partial eclipse is the way a thousand tree leaves lens a thousand partially eclipsed suns. You can see the same thing with a colander but it isn’t as charming. Watching the total eclipse you realize that 50 percent is the same as 85 percent is the same as 99 percent. To tell the truth, even ninety-nine and a half just won’t do; you’ve got to have a hundred.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Stayed in Madison. Thought of driving down to totality, spur of the moment, but with risk of clouds and kids in tow decided against it. Used binoculars to project solar image. Worked well! Kids didn't seem to care much but wife and I had a good time.

How is that ferry anyway? Thought it might be a fun as part of a one day trip.

ndspinelli said...

Crickets were chirping like crazy up here in MN.

Hagar said...

I see the Gov't is going to leave the Jefferson Memorial in place, but revise the plaque to include text about his slaveholding practices.

To include his family arrangements?

This ought to give rise to a lot of commentary and outrage regardless what they do - or don't do!

Danno said...

Merrimac ferry? Is that run by Confederates?

Unknown said...

Closest thing to eclipse chasing for me was driving for almost two hours in the middle of the night to escape overcast skies and catch the Leonid meteor shower around 20 years ago. Found a dark spot out in the middle of nowhere in the Texas panhandle. And even though I was over an hour late for its peak, what I did see made up for the time and trouble.

Susan said...

Watched from the middle of Wyoming. 53 seconds of totality. Absolutely worth driving 4 hours to get there yesterday and 5 hours home today. We had relatives to stay with so just the price of gas for a great memory. Our own house was supposed to be at 94%. But the difference between 94 and absolute totality was amazing. The shadows on the sidewalk from the tree leaves made a great picture so thanks for the heads-up on that professor! We just now talked with my sister in-law who hosted us and she said that there is still stop and go traffic on the interstate by her house almost twelve hours later. Cars are lined up at the gas stations which will be out of gas soon. Could be many people sleeping in cars tonight.

mikesixes said...

It's Parfrey's Glen,innit? I used to go there when I was a kid. It's a beautiful spot.

chickelit said...

Is Meade wearing shorts or pedal pushers?

chickelit said...

Love, love, love, the Merrimac Ferry. I've crossed via car and bike.

Did you get some ice cream during the wait?

chickelit said...

mikesixes said It's Parfrey's Glen,innit? I used to go there when I was a kid. It's a beautiful spot.

I'm related (mother's side) to those Parfreys.

Kevin said...

Not shorts. Rolled up pants for walking in the rocky stream ( which was very fun).

Capris.

dbp said...

Do you feel at all bad about not sharing the glasses with that guy who turned to stone? Everybody knows you shouldn't look without protection, but they also know that the impulse will be too strong to resist.

Hagar said...

Shame on you!

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Climbed Mt. Sherman. Reached the top at 11:45AM - just past the peak of the 93%. It was a perfect day. About 43 degrees on top. Some rain in the distance to the south was a little disconcerting, but it never managed to move towards us. About 30 climbers scatters on the mountain. (give or take) Most had special glasses. We shared ours with hikers who did not bring glasses.

Wow cool.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

(scattered)

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I had to drive to Fort Collins on Saturday for a client meeting. the traffic on I-25 towards Wyoming was already bad. No way would I drive in that gross traffic just to add 7% to the eclipse experience.

Wisconsin is beautiful in the summer.

jaydub said...

We had a nine hour eclipse where I live in Europe when the other side of Earth passed between the sun and Spain. I slept through most of it, though.

chuck said...

I left at 7:00 AM and drove up to the Roberts exit in Idaho, about 3 hours at 80+ mph. It was a gorgeous morning, cloudless sky, and traffic, but not enough traffic to slow things down until just south of Idaho Fall where folks were turning off towards Rexburg and had to stop at a light. I skipped that and headed on up the road. There was a mom-pop convenience store/gas station/cafe run by an Indian, as in India, family at the exit and the parking lot was full of watchers, but not crowded. All very pleasant and totality was about 2 minutes.

The total eclipse experience was definitely worth it. I've been through several partial eclipses and there is no comparison, those last few tens of seconds before totality are different and totality itself is spectacular. What I didn't expect was the sunset red ring around the horizon.

Now for the epic part. There must have been a good fraction of Utah hiding out in Idaho, because I-80 immediately stacked up with stalled traffic from north of Idaho Falls to south of Pocatello, about 80 miles of unmoving traffic with Utah plates. There are only two roads going south from Idaho Falls and both were stuffed. I hung out at various parks, crossroads, rest stops, etc. to watch and wait. I'd rather sit and read than sit in a car inching past ironic 80 mph speed limit signs. But I waited and waited, and it lasted and lasted. The tail of the jam finally cleared Pocatello around midnight and I got home around 2 AM.

tim in vermont said...

"tree leaves made a great picture so thanks for the heads-up"

It was more of a heads down, but they made great pictures.

chuck said...

Make the I-15. Must be lack of sleep ...

tim in vermont said...

"Just a joke and a prompt to get you to be critical."

So does this mean that Brookie and ARM are going to stop reading this blog on account of you being a liar and all?

Bill said...

Mineral Point! Pretty little town.

SeanF said...

Dickin'Bimbos@Home: I had to drive to Fort Collins on Saturday for a client meeting. the traffic on I-25 towards Wyoming was already bad. No way would I drive in that gross traffic just to add 7% to the eclipse experience.
I appreciate the hatred of traffic, but a 93% partial eclipse and a total eclipse are far, far more different in experience than 7%. The difference is, at the risk of sounding cutesy, night and day.

Between 3:00pm on Sunday and 9:30 on Monday, we put nearly 1000 miles on the car and spent the night in a tent in order to guarantee (as much as possible) a view of totality, and it was absolutely worth it. We ended up watching the eclipse in Van Tassell, WY, with maybe three other families.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

SeanF-
Here in CO, we had the 93% eclipse, not the 100%. I'll take 93% on top of a 14,000 foot peak, shared with about 30 other people, than 100% eclipse in what Chuck described on I-80.

SeanF said...

Dickin'Bimbos@Home: Here in CO, we had the 93% eclipse, not the 100%. I'll take 93% on top of a 14,000 foot peak, shared with about 30 other people, than 100% eclipse in what Chuck described on I-80.
I'm not faulting you for that preference. Not at all.

I'm just saying that "add 7% to the eclipse experience" significantly understates totality. It's not 7% more of the same experience, it's an entirely different experience.

Mark Nielsen said...


Chuck, it sounds like you must live in the SLC area, where I grew up. I live now in the north part of Idaho (Moscow), but we were also in the vicinity of Roberts for the event. We rented a parking spot (and the right to climb up to the volcano rim) at South Menan Butte -- it was awesome. We used the Roberts exit to get back on I-15, but fortunately we were heading north so we got to miss out on the big Wasatch Front migration jam. Heavy traffic and lots of Alberta plates going up through Montana, but not bad at all.

There were three highlights for us: (1) watching the valley to the west of the volcano grow dark as the shadow approached, (2) seeing the 360-degree sunset effect, including the still-lit peaks of the Teton range to the east of us, and (3) the "diamond effect" of the first speck of sun reappearing as totality ended. Incredible.

Yancey Ward said...

As I wrote in the previous thread, we had nearly as ideal conditions for viewing as is possible here in east Tennessee this time of year. My youngest sister's home is in the zone of totality (we got 2 minutes and 3 seconds of totality), so we all gathered there for a cookout of burgers and eclipse viewing. Two of my brothers in law set up to take pictures of the entire eclipse cycle, so they have really good slide show of the entire event.

I had not seen a partial eclipse of any great magnitude since 1994's which was about 85-90% obscuration where I was during that May's annular eclipse that ran up the eastern US, but I did remember the yellowing of the ambient light as one progresses from about 70% obscuration. That yellowing effect was much more prominent, though, once you get about about 5 minutes from totality- very, very weird feeling. The cicadas came out just about the same time. When things went to totality, it was simply stunning. I had been trying to see if I could see the Moon's umbra approaching from the west, but since we weren't at any relatively higher elevation, it was on me so quick that I am not even convinced I saw it coming. In any case, the darkness was about what one would see about an hour after Sunset, but the 360 degree Sunset lighting was something quite interesting. Since I had already known to look for them, I easily identified Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury. Mercury is a tough planet to see even when it is at its maximum separation from the Sun in the early morning before Sunrise, or in the early evening after Sunset, but was easily seen yesterday. The corona was very prominent, though the ever present haze in east Tennessee this time of year probably dimmed that just a tiny bit.

I definitely will travel to see the one in 2024 since totality in that one will be around 4 minutes and 20 seconds max down near the western end of the state, and if I live long enough, the one in 2045 is over 6 minutes in duration down near the Gulf Coast and Florida.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Sean
Perhaps. I was satisfied with the experience and especially thrilled to avoid traffic and crowds.
Thru the eclipse glasses - the only sliver of sun not covered was merely a sliver. The totality of the experience for me was complete.

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