Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
We chose to drive to a remote area of northern South Carolina between Spartanburg and Columbia, where the Saluda River passes a crossroads at Chappells. We went to a boat landing under a large bridge so that we could experience the sounds of instant dusk along the river. Other adventurous people had also chosen this rural place, far from light sensitive streetlights and passing car beams. It was a wise choice.
The event began before 2 p.m., when the first sliver of the Moon’s intrusion ate into the Sun.
We took our place along the river at 2:15. Even though the Sun seemed bright, you could no longer feel any heat whatsoever. At this point, 85% of the Sun was already covered. Frogs and birds and bugs were already singing as the darkness approached from the northwest. At this point, the deep blue sky was totally cloudless. We were ready.
Near 2:30, the totality arrived. One moment, their was light, the next moment it got dark. We were using the special glasses, but when totality arrived, nothing was visible through the glasses, The four of us dropped the glasses, and what we saw was the most beautiful and powerful display of nature that we have ever witnessed. The totally black Moon was surrounded by a glow that was so surreal, words can’t describe it. At this point I had accidentally hit the “movie” button on my camera, and for the next three minutes I captured the sounds of the critters along the river, and fleeting glimpses of the bridge above, the river, my friends, and for a brief instant, this image of the totality above the bridge.
The sky was a deep pale blue, much like a half hour after sunset. There were no stars visible. High clouds on the distant horizon still reflected the full sun, but with a rose hue. My friends were completely in the dark, and I couldn’t see their faces or any other details. The light was similar to the light of a half Moon on a clear night.
I was able to retrieve a few screen captures from the video, and the over sensitive lens added light to the scene, but in reality, it was very dark. The river was no longer visible at all. The light from a cell phone screen illuminates my cousin’s face.
Below is a five minute video of this event, with those screen captures inserted to supplement the audio. Had I known the camera was running, my reactions and comments would never have been so spontaneous. How fortunate the accidents of life.