Solar Eclipse

On April 7th, my dad and I loaded up into his car with a borrowed tent and a reliable telescope and began the trip to a hayfield in Cobden, IL.

After about six hours of driving, we finally made it to the hayfield, picked our spot among the ten or so other cars, and figured out how to pitch the tent.

In the morning, we woke up, did a little bit of work, went into town to get a coffee, and waited to see if the skies stayed clear.

"Modern Cavemen"

Eventually, the main show started. All the weather maps had been saying that pretty much everyone except the people in Maine would have cloudy skies. We definitely had some clouds, but they never got in the way.

See the difference in the lighting? That's not the camera being weird, it's the Moon blocking the Sun!
I bought a camera to attach to the telescope, but it was very poor quality, and we couldn't use it with the lenses we wanted. These pictures were taken by carefully holding my phone camera over the eyepiece. They're good enough to show the sunspots though!

Finally, we got to totality. When they say that a solar eclipse is the most beautiful thing you can see without leaving Earth, they’re not joking. The air gets cool, the stars come out, you see a “sunset” all the way around the horizon, and you can see the Sun’s corona and solar prominences (the pink things) with your naked eye. It looks like someone broke the sky, and the pictures don’t do it justice.

The only thing I don't like about this picture is how you can't really see the corona. You can sort of see how out to the sides of the Moon there are these darker and brighter regions, but in person (when you're not zoomed in through a telescope), these look so much cooler.

Totality lasted just over four minutes for us, and after that we began the ten hour drive home (traffic). In the end, this trip was definitely worth it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If you’re in the US, you have until 2044 to plan to make sure you don’t miss the next one, but if you’re willing to go to Iceland, you can see the next one in 2026. Lastly, here are some more pictures we took that I thought were cool:

Enjoy Reading This Article?

Here are some more articles you might like to read next:

  • Senior Design Project Presentation
  • DNAM Germany Trip