by Ira Polans
Although I’ve been an amateur astronomer for most of my life, I’ve never had a chance to observe a total solar eclipse before. When some of us decided to go to Oregon to see the eclipse, I thought it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
The original plan was to take some pictures during the partial phases. Then watch totality from beginning to end. As it turned out things didn’t go quite as planned. I also brought binoculars along with the appropriate solar filters.
My traveling companion for the trip was my brother Michael. When we got to the observing site I first put on the eclipse glasses and was surprised to see sunspots. I confirmed this a few moments later with the binoculars.
Then I set-up the camera (point and shoot) to take pictures of the partial phases
Finally totality came!
I wasn’t planning to take pictures during totality as I wanted to follow the advice I was given by many experienced observers. But the change in the sky was so sudden I decided to take some pictures (many did not come out). As it turns out I almost didn’t actually view the eclipse. About half way through I realized this and stopped taking pictures.
I was amazed at how inky black the moon was and how the sky was colored!! I expected to see stars and planets around the Sun. I also thought I would see Venus, Surprisingly I saw none of these objects. I also did not see any shadow bands but I really didn’t look for them.
After a brief glimpse of totality Bailey’s Beads and the diamond ring effect appeared. Both my brother and I were surprised at how bright they were. A few minutes later the sky returned to daylight and the eclipse was over.
Overall it was a great experience and I encourage anybody who hasn’t seen a total solar eclipse to go and see one!!!