Total Solar Eclipse

Total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. It swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States. Click to go to the NASA site.

The 4th anniversary of the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of Aug 21st, 2017, was two days ago. I had looked forward to it for years, and in August of 2017, on a cross-continent drive from the West coast of the US to the East coast, I got the opportunity to witness that awesome event astronomical event.

I had planned it such that I was in Chicago, IL on Aug 18. Around 4 AM on Aug 21, I drove from Chicago to Carbondale, IL, a distance of around 330 miles (550 kms). I reached around noon and was all set up to catch the totality around 1 PM.

The totality lasted for around 2 minutes and 39 seconds where I was — which was about 3 seconds less than the maximum duration of the totality.

Here’s Freeman Dyson describing a total solar eclipse. The beauty and strangeness of it. The audio below is excerpted from his interview in the series “Of Beauty and Consolation” (which I will link to later.)

Dyson is one of my all-time favorite physicists. I was delighted to know that he thought solar eclipses were wonderful. Here’s another person’s awe of the spectacle.

Here are a couple of maps of the track that the eclipse took:

Carbondale, IL is known as the “Solar Eclipse Capital of the United States.” It will also be in the path of totality of  the next total solar eclipse in the US on Apr 8, 2024.

I will of course be there once again in Carbondale, IL to once again catch one of the greatest spectacle on earth.

Author: Atanu Dey


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