The eclipse post

1) Wow.  Wow.  I had read that it would be emotional and mind-blowing.  It was emotional and mind-blowing.  I’m generally pretty even-keeled, but not yesterday.  I was practically a-tingle with excitement as totality approached and totality was probably the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.  Even though you know it is coming cognitively, of course, it is still totally mind-blowing to experience.  My favorite quote on experiencing totality versus advanced partial, “it’s the difference between riding an airplane and jumping out of an airplane.”  Oh, and I totally loved the partial part.  Would have been amazing just to watch and experience changes as sun went from 0% covered into the 90’s.

Naturally, I took a ton of photos, but planned on putting my camera down during totality to just experience.  But then it was so cool I had to try and take some.  I ended up taking a few that weren’t great because I hadn’t thought about the fact that my settings were way off.  In fact, almost all my totality photos were poor because my rational photographer mind was pretty much on hiatus as I experienced pretty much sheer euphoria.

2) Soooo cool to share it with all my family.  We were all just giddy and celebrated with a family group hug when it was over.

3) As you know, I was semi-obsessed and planned the hell out of this thing.  Totally paid off.  I was completely right that traffic right before would not be bad.  People arriving in South Carolina were clearly spread out all over the weekend.  I was ultimately convinced to leave Sunday night to make sure and we experienced heavy, but basically fine, traffic getting as far as the SC border (that was basically where hotels stopped having eclipse pricing).  There was one small back-up on Monday morning getting into the zone, but traffic was basically fine– just like I thought it would be.  I can confirm this as reader MDG left Cary, NC on Monday morning and had no real traffic issues.

I wanted to watch on the north side of the zone and near 95 so I could beat traffic back out and settled on Sumter, SC.  Thanks to the internet, I could learn all about their parks.  Found a great park– Palmetto Park– with a playground and sprayground which kept our kids totally entertained for the duration of the eclipse.  Not too crowded as Sumter had an actual eclipse festival in another park that seemed to suck up the crowd.  Was so glad we watched where we did.

Totality was over at 2:45 and we were leaving the park by 2:48 so we could be heading north on 95 as soon as possible.  I few small back-ups, but totally paid off.  Friends who waited longer and started from further South had far less pleasant returns.

On a related note, don’t know what was up with Google traffic yesterday (BF?)  I kept checking behind us out of curiosity and it basically showed just very small delays after the eclipse.  Yet, my friends returning from Charleston where on the road an extra 3-4 hours.

4) Really annoyed at how articles in the N&O downplayed the local impact.

“Because the sun is so bright, you really won’t see anything,” said Rachel Smith, an astronomy professor at Appalachian State University in Boone. “It won’t get very dark at all. It won’t even be perceptible.”

Wrong!!  I wasn’t in Raleigh, but I know what 93% was like in SC and it was totally perceptible.  And really, really cool.  Temperature was way more pleasant in the sun and the overall light was clearly dimmer.  And, it was awesome to look at the sun with eclipse glasses and see it 93% obscured (And, all this, of course, was confirmed by my friends who stayed in the area).  Now, if you tried looking directly at the sun without glasses, it was not perceptible at all, but there’s much more to an eclipse than that.  In fact, I looked directly at that sun at about 2 minutes before totality and with the naked eye (just for a second, mind you), the sun was still just a giant ball of fire.

5) There was so a natural economics experiment to be done with hotel pricing.  I was basically watching the zone of eclipse pricing expand every day last week on hotels.com.  One week before, Florence, SC (30 minutes from zone) was totally cheap; two days before it was 4-5x regular prices.

6) A couple of photos I’m pretty pleased with.  You can see my whole gallery here.

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Map of the day

I loved this Washington Post graphical feature that shows how far you can get from a major city center in rush-hour compared to regular times.

 

Sure don’t miss the time way back when, when I had the Washington DC commute.  Pittsburgh looks pretty good.  Plenty more cities by region at the feature.

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