Eclipses, part 1 of 2: the lunar eclipse (a delayed posting here ...)

Written by Bob McCormick on 9/02/2017 10:38:00 PM

Hello all,

First, I'd like to officially say that I'm rethinking the title to this blog.

Given the fact that it has been 6 years since I made my last entry into it, I think I might call it "A blog ... someday" ...

Second, I want to expand a little bit on a couple of events over the past 2-3 weeks.

This first entry is about the lunar eclipse that spanned the lower 48 states, and my experience with it.  Due to my new location, the totality wasn't far from me ... about a 150 mile ride from Huntsville AL to the area of 97%+ eclipse.  So, on Monday, I decided to "play hooky" from work (there were no pressing milestones), and drive up to Central Tennessee. I left that morning with my dog (my wife was back in Houston for a baby shower for my niece ... the first great grandchild! ... as well as a meet-up with her sisters and high school friends for a bit of a "girls night out", as well as meet with our sons).

I decided to head to McMinnville, TN, to see the lunar eclipse.  It was kinda on my "bucket list", and I felt that I would have more regrets if I did not go than if I did.

What I found was a town of about 13,000 ... kinda seemed like Mayberry.  It was a great time - crowded, with a big party in their town square, and a band playing Pink Floyd ("Dark side of the Moon" seemed appropriate).  My only real problem was the traffic getting in, and that I couldn't take a decent photo of it with my cellphone camera.  Between my poor dehydrating dog pulling in odd directions, the need to hold my eclipse-rated sunglasses against my cell phone (which I think was confusing the auto-focus), and the auto-correct changing the lens exposure to adjust for the lack of lighting (which removes the ability to actually show things going dark), it all became a struggle.(BTW, thanks to a lady who gave me a styrofoam cup, & my carried bottle water, he didn't stay completely dry.)  All in all, a long day, but a fun one.

Best shot I got of the partial eclipse. Yeah, I know ... weak
Charlie, my confused copilot

McMinnville, TN main street - all cordoned off for the eclipse.  The people in the neon shirts were (mostly) kids let out of school for the event

People waiting for the eclipse in the shade (it was a hot day)

I came for the main showing!

Charlie gets a needed water break.  Note how the shadows of the leaves look a little odd - we were at about 3/4 occultation

The band played on!

The newsies and astronomers were there

Pushpins for where people came from.  Note the clump from in and around Huntsville - I wasn't alone. (And I had to put the one for Houston)

Starting to get darker - need those marquis lights!

Even darker!

Eclipse time!  They needed the marquis lights!