The total eclipse on August 21, 2017, was a surreal experience for both my son Nate and me. It was an experience that neither of us would have wanted to miss.
My nephew, Bob Malheiro, (my sister, Beverly’s, youngest) invited us to stay with them since they were right in the path of totality.
The predicted traffic was reported to be horrendous, since three million people were expected to be on this path; that is 1% of the US population in this narrow band. Nate and I drove up early Friday morning and had no problem with traffic.
Bob and Debby live a mile into Wyoming from Idaho just west of the Tetons, which is an ideal location for this event. The Tetons are to the east, and the open farming fields of Idaho are to the west.
The mountains to the west are 20 miles away, and I calculated it would take 42 seconds for the solar-eclipse umbra to cover that distance at 1700 mph in its 70 mile diameter path.
Here are Bob, Debby, and Nate as we prepare to eat one of the many delicious meals we enjoyed with them over the weekend.
I don’t know how our experience could have been more surreal.
Nate and I both have great videos of the umbra traveling across the Idaho farm lands toward us at 1700 mph and which you can find on my Facebook page. The temperature dropped 18 degrees down to 48 F. Debby got a great picture of the diamond ring, as the sun comes out of the moon’s shadow
I have a stabilized telephoto (250 mm) lens and got five great pictures of the corona and of Mercury during our 2 minutes and 16 seconds of totality. The corona changed dramatically over those 2 minutes; I was amazed at the dynamics. You can see in the picture below the 70 mile diameter umbra coming toward us. Because the edge is not sharp, you know the light-emission zone of the limb of the sun is not sharp.
Mercury, which is about the size of our moon, is an unusual planet. It is difficult to see the planet because it is so close to the sun; we are 93 million miles away from the sun and it is about 36 million miles away from the sun. It can be seen during total eclipse if it is not to close to the sun at that time, or with special astronomical instrumentation, or if you know where to look in the morning or evening sky.
This magnified image of Mercury taken from my camera. I’m guessing that less than one in a million people have seen Mercury. That was one of my main goals. You see the night sky during totality, and four planets were visible during this one: Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. The space-craft Messenger made some 4000 orbits of Mercury and the following image was obtained. Mercury with the largest ellipticity of the planets is gravitationally locked with the Sun in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance.
This means that sun-up to sun-up on Mercury occurs every two Mercury years – making a Mercury day176 of our days.
Hence, the temperatures are extreme – going from -280 degrees F to +800 degrees F. Because it is the size of our moon and about 400 times further away, it appears 400 times smaller than our moon. I was pleased that my Cannon 250 mm stabilized lens was able to focus on it as you can see at the left. Since Venus and Mercury are inside our orbit, they always appear as a crescent. Hence, this image shows Mercury to be on the far side of the sun – nearly 129 million miles away and a pin-point of light at about 7:30 with respect to the sun.
Dancing Leaves in Aspen Trees
Bob and Debby have aspen trees in their back yard, and they were perfect for using the pin-hole camera effect as the light comes through the leaves making an inverted image of the eclipse a multiplicity of times. It was fun to watch the images dance as the breeze would move the leaves. We have several stills and videos of the dancing crescents from the pin-hole camera effect through the leaves of three aspen trees they have in their back yard.
This eclipse also has religious significance for me. The Hebrew calendar gives hint of the need for a time of repentance on this “Land of Promise.”
Salem means peace in Hebrew, and this eclipse crossed seven cities in the US by the name of Salem. In the Lord’s arithmetic, seven is the number for perfection or completeness.
This eclipse peaked at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Missouri.
The next eclipse to come to America will be in seven years on the 8th of April 2024 and will cross the path of this one in Missouri going over New Madrid, MO., where the largest earthquake in recorded history took place in this area (1811-1812) For six months this area experienced some 2000 quakes – many estimated to be over 8 on the Rector scale and making the Mississippi River run upstream.
The Lord loves us and wants us to repent to avoid the purging that will come if we don’t repent. He is coming and worldliness will end as we move into the glorious millennial era.
David W. Allan