Friday, April 19, 2024

The 2024 Eclipse from Houlton Maine - 2024/04/08

The moment we've been planning for is here! Time for the solar eclipse! 

Ian - Someone just started to take a bite out of the apple. 
It's starting to get covered up! The moon is just passing in front of the sun. 

Even though the sun is being covered, it's still super bright outside. The sun puts out a ridiculous amount of light and our eyes adjust for it very well. 
The only way we can look at the sun right now is through special solar glasses. We've collected a few pairs of the paper glasses from our travels. A Star Party in the Badlands, the Junior Ranger talk earlier this week. There's even people driving around the parking lot giving the glasses away for free, just to make sure you're being safe with your eyes. 

But I've got to give a special shout out to T-Mobile and their Tuesday deals they have for customers. Besides their usual discounts on food and fuel, something they have things you need to visit a store to pick up. About 3 weeks before the Eclipse they had a deal where you can come in to the store and pick up solar eclipse glasses! These are regular sunglasses along with a flip-up shield the acts as a solar viewer! We tried both the paper glasses and these, and these were superior! They were more comfortable and stayed on your face a lot better. Plus the lenses were huge compared to the small cutout on the paper glasses. Thank you T-Mobile! 

It's really starting to go! 

Since it takes a little over an hour between first contact and second contact, we have time to do a few experiments. We'd wanted to do the experiment where you look through a colander and see the shape of the sun. Theresa used a small piece of cardboard and a pen since we didn't happen to pack a colander from Florida. 

Eh, you can sort-of see it. 

But, we remembered we could also see it through the tree leaves. There's some trees over there! 

Some little crescent shaped patterns on the ground. 

Or you can use your fingers. 

Everyone giving it a try. 

Who can get the most holes. 

Eventually someone saw what we were doing and came over with a real colander. 

There we go! That's the shape of the sun! Cool! 

We're over 50% covered and it's still super bright outside. 

But it's close. 

I brought my big DSLR to get some better shots. Nothing too fancy. There were some other photographers in the parking lot though with some great setups! Telescopes with cameras, big tripods. It's an event not to be missed. I had planned to just take photos through my solar glasses, but Jacob picked up a filter I could hold in front of my lens that was even bigger and covered more of the surface. Thanks!  

It's the last sliver! 

In the weeks leading up to the eclipse, lots of our favorite YouTubers were talking about the eclipse (we like a lot of science shows). Destin from Smarter Every Day put out a great video interviewing Dr. Telepun, going through different things to pay attention to during the eclipse. 

Dr. Telepun even put out an app that helps you track when things are happening based on your location. Both us and our neighbor were listening as the app told us when things were about to happen, giving a heads up and a countdown for each significant event. 

And here it comes! The total solar eclipse! 

The last rays of sunshine. 

There were cheers and clapping all through the area as the sun was completely covered. The glasses can come off. It's safe to look at directly now! 

It was much darker than before. Off in the distance, it looked like a sunset, even though the sun is high in the sky. Stars were visible in the sky and it got noticably colder. 

The mood was giddy as we were seeing this awesome phenomenon. 

All smiles. 

Great to be here with friends and family to experience it. 

3 minutes and 20 seconds went by too fast. The edge of the sun started creeping out from behind the moon. 

And throughout the eclipse, we could see what looked like solar flares coming from behind the moon. To our eyes they looked like bright orange dots. Through the camera lens, they look pink and purple. 

And even with just a sliver of the sun, the whole area is bright again. 

It was a really awesome experience! Great job T for getting everything replanned at the last minute! We couldn't have had a better experience! Everything went off without a hitch!

Do we leave now or...
The line to get out of the parking lot was very backed up. Getting back onto the freeway was also really crowded. 

Nah, we're in no rush. Now we get to watch the whole thing again, but in reverse! 

Taking a page out of her Junior Ranger book, just like the old civilizations recorded their observations on stone, Alli found some rocks and showed us her experience. 

There you go. Documented for history. 

I don't know where the kids came up with it, but during the eclipse, they build a "summoning circle". Write the name of what you want to appear during the eclipse and maybe you'll get it. 

What are you trying to get? 
Ice Cream? 

Our neighbor Terry heard them and didn't have any ice cream, but brought them a different treat. 

Smarties pops! 

Thank you! 

It's still an eclipse so the shadows are still wonky. 

Crescents in the other direction. 

Going... going...

Almost. Gone. 

Whew! Well that was a really fun experience! Worth all the travel time, driving, hotels, and all that? Checking with everyone here. Definitely! 

The kids made more artifacts for future generations to find. Their fingerprints made out of stone dust. 

Looks like it's going to be about 2 hours to get back to Bangor Maine... 

But, we've been in eclipse traffic before back in 2017. It got pretty crowded as people left whatever town they viewed the eclipse in and head back to the major cities. That 2 hours turned into 3 hours as we sat and slowed moved forward. 

Once everyone arrived back in Bangor Maine, we were hungry! Let's stop at a pizza place!

Great hanging out with everyone! They've got an early flight back to Texas!

Checking out the drawing Alli made. 

We spent our morning puttering around town. Stopping by Tim Hortons for coffee and Timbits, and donating the chairs and other things we weren't going to take back with us to Florida. 

After a 2 hour drive, we were back to the Portland Maine airport and ready to fly home. 

And interestingly enough, the airport has a display with different space items. 

Cool! A piece of Mars! 

And one of the big celebrities this weekend. The Moon! I've seen some smaller samples that were brought back by the Apollo missions, but this is something else entirely! A 100+ pound rock that was found in 2021 in the Sahara Desert. This piece was blasted off the moon by an asteroid impact and eventually found its way into our atmosphere and crashed to Earth! It's the second largest piece of the moon known to exist on Earth! Ian said it just looks like a rock from the parking lot. It does, doesn't it. But still, seeing a piece of the moon so close was really cool. 
And it's been an awesome week! When is the next eclipse? The next good one here in the USA is 2045. T and I joked that we'd take the kids, but by that time, the kids would be taking us! 21 years is a long way away! 

1 comment:

  1. WOW...what an experience...seeing the full eclipse in person (after jumping through many hoops and worries) and in perfect weather conditions...that's one event it needs to be experienced in person to feel the awe and wonder of it (yes, the next full eclipse might be the kids taking the parents :-) ) Beautiful full eclipse photo...especially like the "sunset" one. The "finger-dancing" was cute but the colander definitely worked much better (what, you didn't pack a colander? :-) :-) ) It was very helpful to have that app going to give countdowns to significant events prior/during/after the full eclipse...much easier on the nerves! Imaginative kids...maybe the ice cream didn't materialize but Smarties Pops did! (very kind of the neighbor to do that). Such a big moon rock! An amazing solar eclipse experience for everyone. EOM