by Brad Bartz
St. Louis MO (SPX) Aug 21, 2017
3 billion times and man still does not have a clue. The weathermen were astonished the clouds dissipated during the loss of temperature of the eclipse. NASA is all google eyes about the data sets that they will process. I will continue to study images and look for shadow bands and the shadow race.
Thanks to Tom, Steve and the great teams of Schlafly Beer and Dew Drop Inn. Special planning and care was given to make this event spectacular. The outdoor bar games were a smash hit, especially man-sized Jenga and the loud crashes of defeat.
The 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality were only briefly interrupted by clouds during last 30 seconds. A loud yelp and screams of the crowd pleased all.
The DJI Mavic Pro footage captured the eclipse shadow as it approach from the west. At 400 feet the steady camera did not blink as day became night. The truck stop lit up first which was just magical, then you can see trucks and cars and the highway pull over.
At totality the drone dutifully pointed east and stood at attention while its operate screamed "oh bloody hell!" as I looked up to see the corona blasting out the moon blocked sun.
The partial eclipse started at 11:50 am and each pac-man design effort marched on. The Cannon Rebel T6 and the 400mm lens were operated by Tomoko and Marie Bartz on a tripod with a cover shade.
Many got to take a look and we were so happy to share.
Also on site were space scientists and some with a Mead telescope for really clear and close views.
It really is quite stunning to see sunspots with amateur gear. Then, Marie pulled off a picture of the corona and two very special shots of the totally eclipsed sun. Great job!
Getting to the eclipse was a great journey! We left Los Angeles Union Station by Amtrak on Friday evening and landed in St. Louis on Sunday afternoon. Staying at the Union Station hotel was just this huge added bonus.
The Amtrak trek was awesome for bringing the romance of train travel to my family. The crew were new and young with some old codgers roaming the halls. New Mexico has just an amazing power with its scenic beauty and down-trodden abandoned farms.
The Union Station hotel is a designated national monument and was completely restored by the Oppenheimer Group with exact attention to detail. My hats off to your team.
The Union Station Hotel was packed with eclipse hunters. T-shirts with funny sayings about bending over and seeing where the sun don't shine. Stuff like that. The vibe was a Dead concert with actual mushroom hunters on site!
The Schlafly Eclipse Beer Bus was spot on and we indeed started drinking beer and eating moon pies at 7 in the morning. Just a bit to be in the spirit.
The Enterprise Rent-a-car called me three times to verify that I was going to show up. This location closed at 3pm so I assured them I would be there. "60 mores folks renting cars today, much more that usual," said the counter staff.
A note to Enterprise management. Guys, get it together. Your team on the ground were great. Luckily the clients were eclipse chasers, a species known to have a gaping open mouth of awe when looking up. The next eclipse is April 4, 2024. So, Enterprise Rent-A-Car "executives" look up from your MBA manuals and get to know your customers again.
"We came to help," said the Enterprise super managers the next day, according to staff at the site. They stayed 10 minutes and left. Check. See boss, I was there. Pathetic.
Again, the St. Louis Enterprise team on Washington Street were great.
Traffic, weather, oh my. The eclipse mania had gripped the nation and the geeks were at the wheel. All of the planning to pick this location led to anxiety as patterns kept appearing to make this a questionable location choice. Fretting, sweating and thinking of new plans all continued to happen right up until we boarded the beer bus.
The weather people were no help. They were just dumbstruck that people turned on the news just to see them. Over 3 billion eclipses have happened over our 4.5 billion years, once every 18 months or so.
Still, as Sargent Schultz used to say on Hogan's Heros, "I known nothing..."
The traffic predictors probably paid off the weatherman to give cloud and rain forecasts to scare people away. And boy did it! At one winery south west of St. Louis 50 folks canceled their reservations or just did not show up.
After watching the Oregon traffic jams it translated into worry about our plan.
Oh the stress!
But, like Sonovero sings in Clouds, "even the darkest clouds drift away"
And they did! Bloomsdale, Missouri and the Dew Drop Inn got spectacular sunshine and just enough puffy clouds to worry the crowd to keep drinking Schlafly Eclipse Lager Beer.
Then the temperature started to drop. The clouds wimped out in the lower heat and gave way to perfect viewing of the eclipse.
The crowd roared at the 1st diamond ring and then the mood of awe and silence as it happened. The Moon blocked the sun and it went dark. Pandemonium erupted and primeval screams were heard.
A cloud captured the last 30 seconds of totality, robbing us of the second diamond ring. So to me that means me and the eclipse are still married.
Bradley L. Bartz is founder and president of ABC Solar Inc of California. He writes for Spacedaily and other publications.
Paris (ESA) Aug 21, 2017
Astrophysicists are joining sightseers in watching Monday's total solar eclipse across North America but, in the decade to come, they will be viewing eclipses that last for hours instead of a few minutes - thanks to a pioneering ESA space mission. Aiming for launch in late 2020, Proba-3 is not one but two small metre-scale satellites, lining up to cast a precise shadow across space to bloc ... read more
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