Guest blog: The BLAsT Class Witnesses a Total Eclipse

Posted by Nicole Kiefert
on Thursday, August 24, 2017

By: Maya Fitch and Rayne Horton 

The BLAsT Class watches the eclipse just after first contact. // Photo credit: Samuel I. Beard, Jr.

Today, August 21, 2017, our class along with millions of other individuals witnessed the Total Solar Eclipse. There are no words to describe how incredible the experience was, but if we had to put the eclipse into words a few would be: amazing, astonishing, unbelievable, out-of-this world (pun intended), and magical. As we said before, there are no true words to define the event we saw.

We had clear skies and great binoculars to see this magnificent event. As we drove down the mountain to find the perfect spot to see the shadow and eclipse we could already see a line of cars ready for the moon to go across the sun. Although we had hours to spare it felt as if I was only waiting for the first contact for about 30 minutes when it was actually 2 hours. The totality felt even faster! A couple minutes before the totality, you could slowly see the light starting to get darker. A daytime sunset around every horizon was a sight of a lifetime.

Some sunspots are about to be eaten by the Moon. // Photo credit: Samuel I. Beard, Jr.
As the week progressed, Casper, Wyoming grew in population to more than 5 its usual 60,000. But a total eclipse is worth camping out for days at a lookout or in the Wal-Mart parking lot…and some people actually did this! To witness the eclipse is to witness greatness. In fact, the momentum was built up so much the moment the clock struck 10:22 a.m. everyone began screaming and then realized we couldn’t see the first contact between the moon and sun immediately. Hope was not lost; we anxiously waited and moments later saw an olive/eyeball shape appear through our solar lenses. Then, as the moon slowly moved across, the Sun looked like a PacMan with a wide-open mouth, and then lastly like a crescent moon.

A sliver of the Sun just before totality // Photo credit: Samuel I. Beard, Jr.
The first diamond ring occurred and we knew we only had a short amount of time before we would be in even more awe of the total eclipse. All the websites said that the totality was to last about 2 minutes according to NASA. But NASA is a big fat liar, because there is no way that eclipse lasted 2 minutes. It felt more like thirty seconds, and then the second diamond ring occurred. It was chaotic looking back and forth between the eclipse, shadow, and the jubilation around us.

The sights we saw were to die for, but if that weren’t enough, during the second “diamond ring,” something spectacular happened. The instant totality ended, one of the students in our class wasted no time in proposing to his girlfriend (also a BLAsT Class student.) It was the biggest diamond ring anyone could ask for – a romance between the Sun and Moon. Talk about perfect timing for your engagement! Of course she said yes! 

Unbelievable. Indescribable. It looked as though someone had shot a bullet through the sky. Or a portal to another dimension. Beautiful and awe-inspiring, a total eclipse is something you MUST put on your Bucket List! // Photo credit: Samuel I. Beard, Jr.

The Diamond Ring // Photo credit: Samuel I. Beard, Jr.
In seven years another remarkable event will occur. The total solar eclipse will happen across our home state: Texas! This eclipse was super exciting, and we cannot wait to witness it in the Lone Star State next. Is it 2024 yet?

Another exposure of totality showing the faint prominences. // Photo credit: Samuel I. Beard, Jr.

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