Great Amercan Solar Eclipse


This photo was taken on August 21, 2017, a few miles north of the eclipse centerline in western Nebraska. Our location was a few miles north of the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in the panhandle. The 70 mile wide umbra, which is the darkest part of the Moon's shadow, has shrouded our location leaving only a relatively bright ring of light hugging the horizon in all directions. With the exception of patchy cumulus clouds in the distance the sky was crystal clear. It was a perfect day for viewing the eclipse. 

Prior to the arrival of the shadow the western sky appeared to be filled with a "dusty" dark haze. It wasn't dust. It was the shadow approaching from Wyoming. We had pulled off a county road and waited. The shadow raced eastward at 1700 miles per hour. As it passed, the sky darkened - stars appeared and the remaining light provided an eerie illumination over the landscape. The change from 99.99% partial eclipse to totality was incredible. It appeared like a dark shroud wrapping is arms around us in an instant. In ring of light encircled us around the horizon - a 360 sunset (or sunrise) - depending on your point of view. In the photo above the darkness can be seen on the ground and in the sky overhead. The ring of light is plainly visible to the north and it completed a circle around the horizon.

Totality lasted more than two minutes. It was an eerie experience but just as suddenly as it arrived it disappeared leaving an instantaneously bright sky with the "dusty shadow" off to the east. Totality was over. The time was just before Noon, Mountain Daylight Time, but you would never know it by looking at this photo.