melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-08-25 06:12 pm

eclipse

So, as is probably apparent, no FMK this week either. I made it back from eclipse-hunting only to discover that the internet had been out since Friday due to a storm. (Also, as usual, I didn't get nearly as much reading done over the trip as I thought I would.)

I'm glad I went, though! We ended up watching the eclipse from a ranger station in Sumter National Forest, which was exactly what I'd been hoping for as a watching spot, and didn't really expect to find. Wilderness-y but with air conditioned bathrooms, trees for shade but plenty of open space, no overdone "eclipse event" stuff but a hudred or so other enthusiastic people who had also wandered there from 11 different states with no advance planning. And we didn't hit any bad traffic until the way out.

The eclipse was really cool! No pictures - you will find plenty more better ones online anyway. I did sketches, but while they are great for capturing my memories, they aren't good enough to need to share. (If you are interested though here is a really cool online exhibit about how to paint the sun from a time before cameras.) The corona wasn't at all what I was expected, though, and I kinda thought maybe looking at it through my scratched-up glasses had ruined it, but actually looking at my quick sketch it's pretty close to what NASA's fancy cameras saw.

The things that really stuck with me weren't visual, though - tbh we are all pretty spoiled for the visuals, aren't we? SO MANY PHOTOS. But the cicadas suddenly revving up, and the weird feel of the light, and the crescent shadows. And the fact that it was 2:30 in the afternoon in August in South Carolina and I'd been standing in the sunlight for half an hour and didn't feel like I was burning up under the daystar - that was cool. We need to built some kind of giant orbital solar collectors that keep all of the US south of the Mason Dixon line at at least 70% eclipse all day all summer.

Here are some lessons for next time, though:

1. Next time you drive 500 miles to see a thing, schedule the eye doctor and new glasses appointment *before* the trip, not after.
2. Also, plan the 'relaxing couple days' bonus vacation' after the eclipse, not before. Having to immediately drive 500 miles *back* (and having companions who want to get moving) really spoils the afterglow.
3. If you make a fancy camera set up just to film the eclipse, test its reaction to sitting in the hot sun for an hour in advance.
4. Do plan the extra couple days' vacation, though. Makes the eclipse itself a lot lower-stakes to know you didn't drive 500 miles *just* for that.
5. You do not need to bring 8 books just in case.

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