The Total Eclipse


For many moons now, no pun intended, there has been a lot of talk around our parts about the eclipse because where we live, the opportunity to experience a total eclipse was quite within reach.  In our neck of the woods, a partial eclipse was expected, peaking at 1:24:54 pm CDT with the moon obscuring 98.8% of the sun but a total eclipse was possible within a two hour drive. 


il map

According to these downloadable maps kindly provided by NASA, Ozark, Illinois would experience a total eclipse peaking at 1:22:28 pm CDT with the moon obscuring 100% of the sun.  It was our great fortune to discover that our favorite camp was hosting an eclipse weekend and had room for four more guests.


We arrived before lunch on Saturday morning and checked into the unit of Garnier.  We had a whole cabin all to ourselves.  There were not a lot of scheduled activities on our agenda until dinner and mass on Saturday night.  We tried to encourage the kiddos to take advantage of that and complete as much homework early in the weekend as possible since they would be out of school on Monday. We all brought books to read and of course, I brought my knitting. 

By Sunday more people were arriving.  The guests at the camp were divided into the groups of Ondessonk lovers and eclipse fans.  Because of the camp’s prime location, there were many astronomers and astronomy groups on site.  There was a premium eclipse package offered which included astronomy lectures, star gazing and a special viewing area.  As a service project for his lodge arrowhead, Mason helped set up chairs for the workshops.  Throughout the day, we all popped in and out of the lectures, did some hiking, played gaga and, generally speaking, just relaxed with friends.


Monday morning the camp was abuzz.   Early in the day we staked a claim to a spot near the stables near where all of the astronomy club members were set up and then we waited for the magical moment.  The club members were very excited about the total eclipse.  Some shared stories about traveling all over the world to see these and many had powerful equipment to view and document the eclipse.


There is a 360 degree camera at the top of this pole being operated by the man in the chair. He is controlling it with an app on his Samsung phone.


This lady had a funnel like viewer attached to her telescope.  The eclipsed view of the sun is visible there.


Many people talked about various ways to view the sun with the pinhole effect.  The means to that end were simply through pegboard, a colander and even leaves projected on a sheet or ground.




We were warned that a total eclipse was a profound experience.  The lecturing physicist related a story of an eclipse he saw in Bolivia that lasted for seven minutes.  He said that for the entire duration of that eclipse, he witnessed a man looking up at the sky and crying out in a very loud voice, “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!” Seven solid minutes of that?! We joked but I found myself uttering the very same thing over and over.


I don’t know if this picture was provided from our actual place of viewing but I’m posting it as evidence of what we likely saw.  I didn’t bother to take photos because I did not have the right kind of camera lens to capture the moment.  Besides we were advised to spend our time taking in the experience naturally and savoring the moment.

Just before the sky went dark, the temperature dropped.  Our shadows got crisp and we could see strands of our hair standing on end.  There was a 360 degree sunset that filled the sky and the animals started coming back to the barns all on their own.  We did see the diamond ring that we were promised and then the total eclipse happened.  Leading up to this, we viewed the sun through our eclipse glasses but at that magic moment, we took our glasses off and looked at the sky with the naked eye. Oh my gosh. It was amazing. 

The next total eclipse visible in the United States is April 8, 2024 and supposedly our fair town is in the path of totality.  Our calendars are marked! Are yours?


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