…that would have been on it.
A while back I referred to “the dark spot where the sun was just a minute ago” — I had no idea how exactly right that would be.
The sky was only as dark as, say, half an hour after sunset, but inside the halo of the sun’s corona the moon was, or at least looked, totally black.
Before totality, I had been watching a patch of cloud to our west, figuring the shadow would fall on it first.
Meanwhile, Copperhill’s street lights started coming on. Then, I looked west again and saw that the clear sky beyond the clouds was bright while the clouds themselves … weren’t.
And darkness fell.
Later, as the edge of the sun began to emerge, there was finally the famous shimmer on the ground that I’d been too distracted to notice before, so subtle that I didn’t see it so much as detect it, slightly away from where I was looking directly. I’ve read that it’s too faint to ever be photographed, and I believe it.*
Did birds fall silent or critters take to their dens? Copperhill may be a small town, but it was busy and noisy yesterday afternoon.
Mrs. McG made the arrangements for that experience, and I am glad she did.
Assorted Afterthoughts, Addenda, and Additional Apocrypha: Yesterday, as described by fellow eclipse-watcher Richard: “Mostly sunny, except when it was partly moony.”
A Wyoming time-lapse, apparently facing eastward.
Copperhill, Tennessee, and its counterpart McCaysville, Georgia, would seem to be one town if you didn’t know there was a state line running through it, across the supermarket parking lot, and through some of the downtown buildings. Mrs. McG and I, and her father, had time for lunch between our arrival and the day’s big event, so we went to the Copper Grill, whose bar and dining room (and shaded sidewalk dining area, where we sat) are in Copperhill, but whose kitchen is in McCaysville.
After we ate, I wondered out loud which state the men’s room was in. Well, to find it I had to go past the kitchen. It would have been a waste to visit a town like that and never cross the state line while I was there, but I wouldn’t have expected it to happen like that.
Photo gallery and another time-lapse, from Casper, Wyoming.
We didn’t encounter unusually bad traffic until the drive home this afternoon, when we found ourselves mired in creeping traffic on the interstate for three solid miles. Of course we bailed at the first exit, but we hadn’t been the only ones to have this idea, and I grew increasingly worried about the traffic we might encounter on our usual alternate route away from the freeways; on past occasions even that route has been horrific during afternoon rush hour, which was fast approaching.
Finally I opted for one of the very few roads in Georgia that leads to Rome instead of Atlanta. Once we got to Rome, the drive homeward was much more pleasant.
A Wyoming web-journo makes more of an effort to convey the experience than I have. For example, he took video — some of it from a drone. In Part 2 he writes:
Having watched many documentaries in preparation for the eclipse, I found that I agreed with those who had witnessed it before. The experience is existential, highlighting the fragility and preciousness of life on Earth in the vast cosmos.
I didn’t have that reaction. I’ve seen a lot of things that give other people that kind of feeling but it never seems to hit me that way. Yes, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I wouldn’t mind seeing another one (heh), but maybe it’s because I don’t need spectacular reminders of life’s fragility and preciousness that these spectacles don’t get at my soul like that.
If I had needed a reminder, the drive through Atlanta last Sunday was sufficient.
*Correction: Do a web search for “eclipse shimmer” now (Wednesday, August 23) and there are videos, like this one. Clearly some manifestations (or observers…) are sharper than others.