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The great eclipse adventure is over, the Eclipsomaniacs are back from the U.S., and what an amazing experience!
About half of the Eclipsomaniacs went down in their own vehicles. Brian Lucas and his wife went down several days early to Madras, setting up in the back of an abandoned commercial premise. Neil Sandy went to the Oregon Star Party. Debra MacWilliam, Bruce and Grace Fryer, Bruce Woodburn, and Ed Hanlon went down Saturday the 19th to Ron Jackson’s place in Portland and spent the day touring Portland and getting to know their hosts.
I went down in the Coast Cable TV van early Sunday morning with Brittany Broderson and her cameras, Peter Holden, Mugette MacDonald, and Kenneth Lui (NC rep for Vancouver Centre). Kenneth said that the Vancouver Centre’s 200 members had discussed putting together a group effort to go to the totality as we did, but they apparently decided it was too much effort and abandoned the idea, so that is why we took him along with us.
Brittany had been told by her TV colleagues that she might have all sorts of problems at the U.S. border, and we’d been hearing news accounts predicting horrible traffic on the way down to Portland. Neither turned out to be the case. The officer at the border smiled and wished us a good trip, and the traffic on the way to Portland on Sunday was normal Sunday traffic.
Ron and Karla Jackson did a stellar job of taking care of us all. The Saturday arrivals pitched in and had dinner ready for the second wave when we arrived. They’d also made lunches for the entire crew for Monday. After dinner, we all had a meeting to discuss the next morning’s events. Ron had all of the necessary information queued up on Karla’s computer, and distributed maps and walkie talkies. We got a few hours sleep.
Monday morning Bruce Woodburn headed out the door at 2 AM to try to make it to Madras. He told us later:
I left Beaverton at 0200 and promptly got lost in downtown Portland. Once back on the freeway towards The Dalles I made good time with zero traffic. I stopped in The Dalles for a Logger’s Breakfast then continued with zero traffic towards Madras… Over the next few hours I was joined by a dozen others, many from Canada, including a young fellow who had driven by himself from Calgary with a homemade binocular solarscope. He has Astronomy Society potential.
Temp: 78F. Toilet facilities unlimited. Sky clear. No clouds, haze or smoke. View through the Astro binos was excellent. The corona extended way beyond the field of the binos.
The drive home was reasonable through Oregon and no trouble at all through Washington… Great trip !!!!
Ed Hanlon got out the door a half hour after Bruce W. Ed elected to take his camera equipment a mile away from the rest of us in Madrona Park in Monmouth where he ended up with another group of astrophotographers and got some fabulous pictures.
The rest of us in Portland were on the road at 4 AM. Again, traffic volume was normal Monday morning traffic. We arrived at Main St. Park and found lots of parking. The skies were absolutely clear. We set up solar scopes and went to the coffee shop across the street to get caffeinated. The park filled up with people from all around the world who were amazed and pleased to find our Eclipsomaniacs from the RASC there to help them view the skies. We had people from all over the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia there. Monmouth city volunteers were handing out solar glasses, so everyone had some. Quite a number of serious photographers set up cameras and there was one other person with a telescope (8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain). Brittany set up one video camera with solar filter facing the Sun and captured the entire eclipse sequence. The other TV camera she used to interview people and record the reactions of the crowd.
Hundreds of people viewed the skies through our solar scopes, which we had tracking the Sun as soon as it cleared the trees on the horizon. As the penumbra arrived, someone remarked that they wished they could take a picture. I saw that they had a cell phone and showed them how to take one at the eyepiece of my hydrogen alpha scope. Soon scores of people were coming to take photos at the eyepiece.
The eclipse was breathtaking. The atmosphere of the crowd was electric. As the totality approached the light went platinum: it was like being in a black and white movie. Then the sky went dark, the temperature dropped and a chill wind blew through. Sunset appeared all around us and night above. Venus shone brightly and a glorious silvery corona surrounded the Sun. The crowd went wild. Unbelievable!
After the eclipse ended, the Eclipsomaniacs all packed up and prepared to head home. Those of us in the TV van headed towards I5, while Ron and Karla tried 99W. Where it had taken us an hour to get to Monmouth from Portland that morning, it took us 5 ½ hours to get back. 6 ½ hour after that, we’d only made it as far as Renton, WA, and we got hotel rooms for the night. In the morning, we started north to the border. We dropped Kenneth off in Vancouver about 3 PM, and we finally made it back to the Sunshine Coast about 7 PM.
I am already getting thank you e mails from the crowd.
What a great day for the eclipse. The official visitor count was set at 670, but I think we may have missed a few!
Thanks to everyone who came out for this event, and don’t forget the next meeting of the Astronomy
Club will take place at the Arts Centre in Sechelt at 7:30 pm on Sept 8th. Our speaker will be
Christa Van Laerhoven who will be talking about Planetary Science. all are welcome.
(Eclipse image Dan Sklazeski)
Due to inclement weather this event has had to be cancelled.
My wife’s cousin Ron is an engineer lives in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, and has invited me and friends to his place to view the total solar eclipse on 21 August, 2017. This is the first total lunar eclipse visible from the U.S. in over 38 years: The last one passed through the Pacific Northwest in 1979. Bruce Woodburn and I are planning to drive down to view this from Ron’s part of the world. Any other members who are interested in being part of this should contact me.
Clear Skies, Charles Ennis, President
Our speaker at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, at 7:30 PM on Friday, 10 February, 2017, will be Dr. Howard Trottier, who will be speaking about “Outreach, Education, and Science at Simon Fraser University’s Trottier Observatory and Science Plaza.”
At 7:30 PM on Friday, 13 January, our Vice President, Mike Bradley, will be teaching a course on Astrophotography at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St, Sechelt. Public is welcome: admission by donation
ALERT: 1400 HOURS, 9 DECEMBER
I’ve been in phone contact with various members, watching the weather on line, and watching the weather out my window up in Sandy Hook. As I write this David Thompson says it is snowing heavily by the Beer Farm in Gibsons and it is coming down fast and furious in Sandy Hook. Mindful of the snowfall warning, in the interest of safety, and not wanting people to come to tonight’s meeting and then not get home afterwards, I am cancelling the meeting tonight.
Regards, Charles Ennis
President, Sunshine Coast Centre
At 7:30 PM on Friday, December 9, we will be having our annual Christmas gathering at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre. This will be a pot luck (appetizers). This year we’re going to have a brainstorming session to come up with ideas about what direction we’d like the club to go in during the next few years. In recent years we’re made a lot of dreams come true: the observatory, a community TV show, a Bravo Channel documentary, to name but a few. I am sure that some of the more quiet of you have wonderful dreams too: ideas you’d like to see come to life. Come share those with us all so we can make them happen too.