Eclipse 2017 – Northern Michigan

Today was THE day. The BIG day. The day that the solar eclipse traveled across the USA.

We weren’t anywhere near the full path in Northern Michigan, but we were supposed to be able to see about 75% of it. At first very cloudy skies were forecasted–like 80-90% cloud cover–but as the day neared, the forecast changed. I don’t know if technically we had partly cloudy skies or partly sunny skies, or mostly sunny–and I didn’t risk looking at the sky so I don’t actually know how many clouds we had–but I know we had far fewer clouds than originally forecast.

I had learned that a person could see the eclipse using a colander. The sun shining through the colander on a white piece of paper would act sort of like a pinhole viewer. EJ told me where I could find a couple old colanders in the garage, so I went searching for them and found them. I got some white paper from Ms. Pennyweather, which is what we call our secretary (the desk, not the person). I set the colander and paper up in the sun on the deck. The light from the holes blinked off and on, dim then bright, as clouds moved across the sky. I watched and watched the light from the colander, but I never did see any sign of the eclipse. I did think the pattern of light through the colander was interesting.

I know many people were concerned that the eclipse might damage the eyes of their animals, and if they were concerned, there was certainly no harm in keeping their pets inside. However, I have lived through the 1979 eclipse and many other partial eclipses, and I never even heard a rumor that the eclipse could hurt animals. I would think that it would be big news if it did because there would be hundreds (or thousands) of blind wildlife crashing about. So I wasn’t worried about my animals. On hot and humid days like today, I keep the coop doors open for air circulation. I thought that shutting my birds up in a stifling coop would cause them more suffering than damage from the eclipse. I did go check on the ducks and chickens a couple of times to see if the eclipse would make them act strangely, but I saw no change in their behavior.

EJ’s photo from his phone.

I’ve seen awesome photos of the eclipse that other Michiganders took, but I didn’t want to risk ruining my camera by trying to get a photo of it. EJ actually got a photo with his phone through a welding lens at work. However, the only thing that I, myself, noticed was the light getting dimmer for a bit–but no more than it usually does on a cloudy day in Michigan. We get a lot of cloudy days because of the Great Lakes.

Although I saw little signs of the eclipse, I did watch it on NASA’s live stream on Facebook. I set my laptop near the window so I could hear it through the open window while I sat out on the deck. However, during the full eclipse in other areas, I came inside to watch it…and to cool off.

It was awesome to watch the beautiful eclipse and I was almost envious of those who actually got to experience it. I say “almost envious” because I wasn’t seriously envious. Sometimes I’m in the right place to view celestial events, and sometimes I am not–that’s just the way it is. I’m glad all those people got to experience it. And although I often see memes at Facebook that say, “I’m glad I grew up in a world without technology,” the truth is that without technology, I would not have been able to experience even secondhand the awesome eclipse. I was just glad for technology that allowed me to see it on-line.

I have always loved to witness “historic events” and the eclipse certainly was historic. Even though I didn’t get to witness the eclipse firsthand, I can tell stories to my someday grandchildren of what I know of the event–my own memories as well as the stories my friend who lives in Oregon in the path of the eclipse shared. For several months she has been posting on Facebook information about the eclipse–such as that campgrounds and motels were booked solid for months, that authorities were warning residents to stock up on gas and necessities because of the expected thousands expected to flood into the area, that there were people from all over the world visiting the area, and there were miles-long traffic jams. It was very interesting.

Speaking of historic eclipses, today I came across a video on Facebook of Walter Cronkite, the CBS news anchor who I grew up watching, reporting on the last solar eclipse in 1979. It was fun to see it:

A Michigan weather Facebook page just shared that 2024 is going to be an even better eclipse show for those of us in Michigan than this year’s because the majority of Michigan will see 90-98% of totality. That’s cool and something to look forward to!

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