Author’s Note: I’ve made a list of 100+ events, places and experiences that happily unite people. I’m taking a tour to see and experience as many of them as possible, and also meet-up with Society members and friends. Of course, I’ll be sharing these #HappinessUnites moments with you. Find out more of the why’s of the #HappinessUnites Tour in my blog: 3 Reasons I’m Hittin’ the Road. Or find out where my #HappinessUnites Tour has taken me so far – and what I’ve had time to write about.
#HappinessUnites Tour: Stop 3 Stargazing
For a few hours on Monday, August 21, 2017, the majority of Americans were united by the awes, wows and general amazement of an ancient ritual: Stargazing.
An eclipse traveled from the west to the east coast of America for the first time since 1918, meaning everyone got to experience part of its magnificence. Millions also traveled to the exact line where the full darkness of the eclipse could be seen and felt for a little over 2 minutes.
I’d received invitations from Society members in Oregon and Missouri to watch closer to the line of total darkness, but the travel plans didn’t work out. Although the large crowds on the news made me wish I was in the middle of the hoopla, I wasn’t entirely left in the dark—or, in this case, the light.
Thanks to Eddie, one of my prepared neighbors, for thinking ahead to buy eclipse-viewing glasses before they were sold out— that’s when I started looking for them. I was able to see an almost 75% coverage from my front yard where some of my neighbors were also enjoying the eclipse.
My friends and Society members, Kari and Victoria, came over so we could watch it from my driveway. Okay, it was a little hot, so we sought refuge inside and watched ABC’s David Muir’s Special Coverage. I may have not been there, but we could feel the excitement of the crowds as the eclipse arrived in Madras, Oregon.
The sky stayed blue, but it was a slightly darker blue if you looked west than when you looked east. At 12:45 p.m., we went outside to my front yard. The fullest coverage in DFW was at 1:09 p.m. My Tater wasn’t too happy that he was left inside, but he didn’t have eclipse sunglasses. At the moment of our maximum coverage, the moon covered the sun so that it made a big bright shining smile. Not that it’s surprising I saw a smile – someone else might have called it a crescent.
Even more amazing was the air change. The summer winds that usually blow nothing but hot and humidity-laced air were now cooler, and for a few moments everything was still.
The eclipse was traveling fast, so we came back to the comfort of AC to watch the eclipse’s last stops in Carbondale, IL, and Kelly, KY – where there’s a story of a possible alien encounter on August 21, 1955. No aliens were seen today, giving us time to also see the eclipse in Nashville, TN, before its final viewing in Columbia, SC.
Watching the eclipse on TV and in my front yard was so fun that I’ve already marked my calendar for April 8, 2024, when Dallas will get 100% coverage. Maybe I’ll have to do another stargazing event for my #HappinessUnites Tour, since space seems to unite lots of smiling people.
The lessons I learned from stargazing:
- Plan ahead if you want to travel to the best spots to watch the event – lots of people are stargazers.
- Shop early for your glasses.
- It felt fabulous to be connected to millions of people all watching the wonders of the solar system at the same time.
If it makes you happy, take a minute to leave a comment below about your Stargazing – Solar Eclipse 2017 experience. It will make me smile to hear all about it 🙂