REPORTS: Total solar eclipse, August 21, 2017


Mar 12, 2014
Omaha, NE
Those are called shadow bands or shadow snakes. I definitely saw them both before and after totality. They were covered in a video I linked to in the predictions thread. Pretty cool.

While I'm at it, the same guy also captured a transit of the ISS between C1 and C2. It seemed to catch a lot of attention on Twitter on Monday. He made a video of that event on his channel:
That must have been where I heard about them. A friend tried to take a video of the bands with her cell phone, but you couldn't really see them.
Very cool video, thanks for sharing!
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Mitch Magee

May 17, 2011
After poring over forecasts for ten days and satellite images throughout the day before the eclipse, I decided to ditch Kansas City and go with Plan B. A possible 'cirrostratus shield' over KC that the NWS forceaster mentioned Sunday evening was the last straw. The likely Iowa MCS and signaled morning KC convection pushed me past St. Louis. A chance of convection in SE MO landed me in Kentucky. After watching cumulus fields avoid river valleys and reservoirs on satellite images, I settled on the town of Eddyville, which is on the center line and the leeward side of Lake Barkley. This 'cloud shadow' strategy may have worked out, because we had puffy clouds on all sides of us, but never overhead. (Someday, I would like to get some high-res visible sat images of the area to confirm.) The only clouds present near the sun were some scattered cirrus coming in from the west. These were never an issue.

I don't have any eclipse photos to offer. I figure the 2m 40s would have evaporated while fumbling with some silly camera just to get photos that are no better than the millions that will soon appear on Instagram. That turned out to be a good choice since I was reaching sensory overload as totality commenced. I could barely handle a pair of binoculars at that point.

Needless to say, the eclipse was awesome beyond words, yet there is one phenomenon worth noting that I haven't heard anyone mention before. At the beginning of totality, just as I saw the sunlight on the ground switch to a cold, shadowless pall, I swung around and looked up to behold the moon and corona basking in a warm, golden glow. This appearance of the eclipse was stunning and utterly unexpected. The glow faded to the quality of the light of a midnight full moon by mid-eclipse. The glow returned as the sun was about come back out, though I didn't make as much of a mental note this time. After thinking about it for a bit, I figured the warm glow was due to the chromosphere (which I didn't see directly) adding its color and brilliance to light up the surrounding sky.

Jeremy Perez

Experiencing the eclipse was beyond words...but I tried anyway. Blog post and images over here:

2017 Solar Eclipse

Our road trip wound up in Broken Bow, Nebraska the night before, but threat of clouds was too much to bear and we bailed westward at 4AM through a horrendous fogscape. We caught the eclipse under perfect skies in the sand hills north of Mitchell. Intervalometers and a scripting program "Solar Eclipse Maestro" let me pre-arrange the shots so I didn't have to fuss with the camera during totality. No way I would've wanted to mess with images otherwise. Like Mitch said about sensory overload...definitely that.

Corona and Earthshine

Observing totality in the sand hills north of Mitchell

Bailey's Beads at the end of totality

Diamond Ring effect just before totality

John Farley

Apr 1, 2004
Pagosa Springs, CO
Here is a better totality picture than the one I originally posted. Helps to get home and do a little more extensive post-processing.


I know there are lots of better ones out there but I did not want to spend too much time fussing with the camera and was quite happy with this. Was also pleased that I captured Mercury - I did not notice it in real time although Venus was very visible farther away on the other side of the sun.

I have written up a more detailed account of our experiences of the eclipse, which you can read at:
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May 2, 2010
Springfield, IL
Check out this looping satellite view of cloud cover over MO and IL in the hours before, during and after the eclipse...

The loop begins at 1547 UTC (10:47 a.m. CST, about 1 hour before first contact and 2 1/2 hours before totality in most of the area pictured) and ends at 2102 UTC (4:02 p.m. CST). It appears to me as if that boundary coming down from IA/N IL held off just barely long enough for totality... and then literally exploded within the next 90 minutes or so.
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Bill Hark

Jan 13, 2004
Richmond Virginia
Monday was a successful eclipse chase day. I started in Seneca, South Carolina and spent the early morning looking at data. Either the region near Seneca or over in east Tennessee looked good for sunny skies. I initially liked the Athens area of east Tennessee but that would involve another 3 hour drive over the mountains. As more data came in, both areas appeared similar, and I chose South Carolina. The skies were clear, but cumulus clouds were expected to form around eclipse time. I decided to shift a bit east and south to get away from the mountains. I drove through Clemson and then wandered the back roads looking for a place away from crowds. I finally found nice isolated dirt road by a large field with some horses. The heat and humidity was miserable but the sky was initially clear. I began the process of setting up equipment while nervously watching the growing clusters of clouds around me. A few times, a cloud would briefly cover the sun. This was worrisome as totality would only be about 2 ½ minutes. A cloud could ruin the view. I was ready to shift positions if necessary. Since eclipses glasses were too dark to show clouds and the sun too bright to look at directly, I would take periodic cell phone pics with my eyes closed to assess the presence of clouds by the sun. There were several close to the sun. Should I stay or go? Slowly, the moon started to block the sun giving the sun a crescent appearance. Shadows became sharper but there was not much change in apparent light. I could easily watch the process on an eclipse projection box that I made using an old pair of binoculars. A large sun image was projected onto a white screen. I was also monitoring temperatures in the box. I had an initial reading of 96 degrees in the shade. Slowly, the sunlight developed a weird gloomy appearance with a gradual diminishment in brightness. Where trees cast a shadow, I could see little crescents of the sun. The temperature started to decrease. The horses stayed in position but didn’t do anything unusual. There were a few more crickets chirping in the grass. The light level reached the point of twilight and suddenly everything became dark. There was a massive wave of darkness the engulfed the area. This was a drastic change from the slow decrease in light. For 360 degrees, the sky was a dull orange as one would see at late sunset. A few stars or planets were visible. This was totality. The sun was an amazing sight. A pure black disk surrounded by a silky corona. This was against a dark blue-black sky. Absolutely amazing! This only lasted about two and a half minutes. The sky in the distance gradually brightened and suddenly, there was light. It was still fairly dark and I glanced down at the pavement and saw the elusive “shadow snakes.” They were wavy parallel lines shimmering in my view of the road. This phenomena doesn’t occur with every eclipse and depends on the atmosphere. I wasn’t expecting them as one usually needs a solid background. I attempted a picture but it was too dark. I should have tried video but was distracted. A couple of minutes later, a cloud passed across the sun and ended the nice view. Overall, the cooling effects of the shadow decreased the clouds. My last temperature measurement was 86.8. I left the area and began the long arduous journey northward in terrible traffic. At times, I was taking small “bob’s roads” with no line as I attempted to avoid the towns. I passed huge fields completely covered by Kudzu vine except for the road. I didn’t get home until about 3 AM.


Dec 11, 2004
Janesville, WI
I'm a little late to the show, but thought I'd share my experience. About a year before the eclipse I booked rooms in Grand Island, NE and Marion, IL and would pick the place with the potential for the best weather and cancel the other. About 30 hours before the eclipse I was still a little iffy about the potential for clouds in S. IL (Grand Island was already out of the question) so I booked a last minute room in Clarksville, TN. I'll let the images, video, and my blog tell the rest of the story...

Blog link:

A time lapse covering from about 2 minutes before through 2 minutes after totality:

The eclipse was definitely one of the more interesting and awesome experiences I've had.

Ended up having brief totality where I was southeast of St. Louis. A cool experience...Watching the eclipse occur, it gradually getting dark, and the shadow waves before/after totality. Also seeing a few of the brighter stars/planets around totality, and the 360 degree sunset-like sky.

Definitely will be in position for the 2024 eclipse and a greater period of totality.
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Been super busy, so late posting here. I decided to make a full family vacation out of this. I booked hotel rooms back in January and hoped for the best.

We left from Colorado Saturday morning and spent the whole day driving to North Platte, NE where we spent the night Saturday night. On Sunday, we drove to Omaha and I took the family to the Henry Doorly Zoo. That was an awesome experience and well worth visiting if you are ever in the area. After visiting the zoo, we headed to Lincoln, NE to spend the night.

I had been following the weather all week and it wasn't looking good for our original plans. Plan A was to head down to Beatrice, NE. Plan B in case of cloud coverage was to go northwest near Kearney, NE. I woke up around 7am Sunday morning and while eating breakfast, I reviewed the satellite images. I quickly decided that Plan A was out, so I searched for a place with no clouds that we could make it to before the eclipse started. I settled on Ravenna, NE.

We packed up the car and headed west towards Ravenna. Waze kept redirecting me as the traffic was getting worse and worse the closer it got to the eclipse start time. We finally arrived in Ravenna and found a field where other people were watching the eclipse too. Luckily that part of Nebraska is less populated and flat, so there were a lot of different places where people were gathered to watch the eclipse, so it wasn't too crowded.

As we talked with some other people who were there, we found quite a few others who were originally planning to go to Beatrice, who decided to go west to Ravenna also. A lot of people had "experiments", solar eclipse binoculars, telescopes, pinhole viewers, and other contraptions. Everybody was really nice, and my wife and twin 3 years olds enjoyed experimenting and using the binoculars and pinhole viewers. I was told that on your first eclipse, you should just enjoy it, and not try to photograph it. So that's what I did. I did take some photos with my cell phone, but I didn't bring a good camera and try to get good photos or video. I just wanted to enjoy it.

After the eclipse, it was a slow drive to Kansas City, KS in moderate traffic. Until we hit Beatrice, NE. Then traffic stopped, and we crawled along. The eclipse had ended 2 hours prior, and yet traffic was still terrible in Beatrice. We finally made it to Kansas City around 8pm, where the city was being pounded with heavy rain. Many parts of Kansas City experienced flooding. We were driving 35mph down the interstate, because any faster and we would start hydroplaning. Water was flying about 15' in the air on the sides of our SUV as we drove down the interstate. Luckily our hotel was high on a hill and did not experience the flooding that many of the buildings around us experienced. We had planned on eating dinner at Joe's Barbecue (supposed to be the best barbecue in Kansas City, and the 2nd best in the country), but we arrived too late.

On Tuesday, we drove to Manhattan, KS and visited my wife's brother for a few hours before heading a little further west and taking my boys on their first camping trip. Finally, on Wednesday we drove home.

In 5 days, we covered 1,800 miles and drove through 5 states. My wife and kids got to experience a little bit of what I go through when storm chasing. They did not enjoy the driving. Good thing I do.

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Sharing solar eclipse binoculars and pinhole viewers.

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My wife and twin 3 year old boys enjoying the totality.


Jun 12, 2004
Sunrise, Florida
Good day all,

Finally all caught up with a bunch of work and such, so here is my detailed account of this absolutely spectacular event!

Summary: The eclipse chase trip was kind of different in some respects. Instead of looking for bad weather, I needed to target the clearest weather as possible. Based on this, the best area was east and central Tennessee, with open clear skies forecasted in that area. I left south Florida on August 20, 2017 with a friend of mine to take turns driving. We pretty much headed up I-95 to Fort Pierce, then took the FL Turnpike through Orlando to Ocala, then I-75 northward to the Atlanta area by evening. We spent the night in Marietta, Georgia. The next day, on the 21st, we headed out early on I-75 northward out of Georgia and into Tennessee near Chattanooga. From there, I headed north on I-75 to near Athens, then NW on Highway 68 to 58. The final area was a park and recreation area at the Foshee campgrounds and lake southeast of Spring City, TN. This area was in the totality axis.

The total eclipse was observed at around 2:35 PM EDT (local time) at this location. After documenting the event, I headed out of the recreation area to highway 58, taking that route through Decatur and back-roads to avoid the traffic on 58 and I-75. Heading east on 306 to near Cleveland, TN to Highway 11 south to 60, then 71 to Dalton, GA. From there, I took I-75 out of the area through Atlanta and made the long drive to Valdosta for the night (traffic was heavy in areas, due to the exiting of observers, and construction later on). On August 22, we headed south on I-75 back to Ocala, then took the FL Turnpike through Orlando to Fort Pierce, then I-95 back into south Florida. Total mileage was 1,654 miles.


This is a "chase" map and annotated diagram for the Great American Total Eclipse of 2017, which passed diagonally across the USA on August 21, 2017. To observe this event, and after forecasting for good weather, I decided on a target of east-central Tennessee. The main area of observation was the Foshee Recreation area southeast of Spring City, and was directly in the totality axis for this event. The trip started by driving out of south Florida on August 20, 2017 (that nigh was spent in Marietta, GA) with the total eclipse observed on the 21st in Tennessee, during the early afternoon. The drive back to south Florida was on the 22nd with a stop near Valdosta. The eclipse "chase" track is in blue. Total mileage logged was 1,654 miles on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler.

Video of the Aug 21, 2017 eclipse...

Pictures below...


View of people gathering in the Foshee Recreation area to the southeast of Spring City, Tennessee. This area was chosen doe to a clear weather forecast and it being directly under the totality axis.


Above: First contact as the moon begins to cross over the sun. The partial portion of the eclipse has begun. This was at about 1:40 EDT.


Above: Myself with the camcorder taking video of the partial phase of the eclipse through solar filters.


Above: otality reached at about 2:32 PM EDT, and lasting about 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Beautiful corona and dark sky and stars visible.


Above: Close-up of total eclipse showing corona and prominences around the edge of the solar disk. This was roughly 2:33 EDT.


Above: Totality ends at just before 2:35 EDT and the sun re-emerges from behind the moon. In this picture, the "diamond ring" effect can be seen, following the "bailey's beads". Wave shadows were also observed on the ground at this time.
Very late to the party here! Long story short - we made our 2nd trip of the year to the US from the UK - got a bit of a city break in Chicago, then a couple of small storm chases in KS/NE, and then watched the eclipse from near Ansley, NE, before heading to MI for a couple of days for a short break with family - quite the packed trip!

Anyway, a few weeks back I got around to putting together a 3-way view of the eclipse: the main panel shows the zoomed-in view from my video camera, with the other 2 showing GoPro footage looking (top) towards the south, and, (bottom) towards the north-west.

This is my account of the eclipse on August 21, 2017, at approximately 1:22 in the afternoon.

Wow, all I can say is that this was one of the most incredible celestial experiences that I have witnessed in all of my years of studying the sky.

I have been in several 80% eclipses. The sky would dim, as if a thick summer cloud was passing in front of the sun. The temperature would drop a few degrees and then it would be over.

I knew going into this eclipse, from reading other personal accounts, that it would be amazing. I didn't understand the full scope of what I would feel until it happened.

A persons mind can dream, think, and ponder but these are not experiences.

The lead up to the totality was exciting. There was a palpable wave of anticipation.

We gathered on the deck. There were seven of us. The air was heavy. The temperature was 92 degrees. We were wearing the air.

A strange hue began to fall over the surrounding fields and landscape. The colors progressively subtly changed with each passing minute.

At one point it felt like a large thunderstorm was approaching. The darkness. The heat. The humidity. It wasn't a storm, but the darkening of the sun.

It reminded me of my childhood growing up on this farm. One year the northern sky was boiling black. The clouds were churning. It was the kind of sky that you just knew was going to bring something bad.

We were at my grandmothers house. My mom, dad, and two sisters headed for our house. Our house was a few hundred feet away from grandmothers. We tried to beat the storm. I was carrying a metal pan. A wall of wind pushed against me. It took the pan out of my hand and whisked it away up into the air. I wondered if I was next!

It is a peculiar feeling when a memory, lost long ago, returns. For just a moment I was transported back to that time. That memory.

That is what the sky reminded me of right before the clock struck totality.

Inch by inch the light from the sun disappeared. Like molasses, oozing ever so slowly. My eyes had to be as big as the lenses on my glasses. I audibly said wow several times.

The towering cumulus clouds to our west started turning a mixture of white, blue, orange, and pink. The changing sunlight was turning them into a moving painting with different hues of color.

A dozen birds flew by us. They were low to the ground. They seemed excited. Moving fast, but with purpose.

You could then see the diamond. One last burst of light cutting through the hills and valleys of the moon.

Then the shadow snakes appeared. Have you ever looked into the shallow end of a pool? A pool with clear, fresh, and sparkling water. You can see the bottom of the pool with wavy shadows, dancing across the liner. That is what these shadows looked like.

They were moving. Racing towards the southeast. They were like hundreds of ghosts passing beneath our feet. We only knew of their presence because of the white sheet that we had carefully placed on the decking..

Then, the last sliver of sunlight stepped into darkness. The sun was cloaked. We removed our glasses.

We were then immersed. Bathed in a hue of light that wasn't like sunrise, sunset, or anything else I have experienced.

There was a surreal calmness. You could feel the temperature drop. A light breeze was blowing.

I looked to the right of the sun and there, twinkling as proud as could be, was Venus. I yelled, look at that. There is Venus.

The sounds of a symphony of cicadas suddenly arose from the woods.

Far in the distance I could hear an owl. Faint, but there.

Through the thinness of white cirrus clouds the sun went black. Around it were whitish hues of light.

I must have been smiling. I was in awe. I don't know how else to describe the feeling. In its own way, it felt spiritual. Suddenly nothing else mattered.

For those two and half minutes, my mind was cleared of all that was negative. Peacefulness. That is the best way I can describe it. A calming sense of peace.

As I looked around and it appeared that the horizon was at twilight. Not light. Not dark. Unlike a sunset or sunrise. This twilight was in all directions.

The cumulus clouds, that were bubbling in the afternoon heat, were dissipating. Losing their source of fuel and energy.

For those two and a half minutes we were in the shadow of the moon. A place I have never been before. A place I hope to be again one day.

As suddenly as it arrived, it departed. A bright ray of light exploded towards us. It was like you would imagine when a star is born.

Bright, shining, and beaming. The sun, as if with great excitement, had returned.

Beau Dodson
Metropolis, Illinois
Jul 5, 2009
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Bump for the memories. Enjoyed totality from East Tennessee with family and friends. Couple great posts I did not see before. One year ago today was pure magic!

Wow, didn’t even realize yesterday that it was the one year anniversary. As is always the case when judging the passage of time relative to a significant memory/event, it’s hard to believe a year has passed, it seems like yesterday. My post from the event is above so I won’t rehash it here, except to say that it was one of the most incredible moments of my life, the feeling of awe that I had beat any tornado hands down; it was truly emotional and brought tears to my eyes, it was a window into the universe and its Creator in a way that no other natural phenomenon could match IMHO. I still believe that storm chasing is overall a more satisfying experience because of the intellectual aspects, the challenge and the adrenaline - it takes far more thought, analysis, effort and ability to put yourself near a tornado, whereas anyone can get to an eclipse - but the eclipse experience itself was just beyond words. Being able to give my wife and kids the experience, and sharing it with them, also added exponentially to it. I also loved being able to share some tiny aspects of my storm chasing life with them - showing them a part of the country (Wyoming for the eclipse, as well as Colorado before and South Dakota / Mt. Rushmore after) where they had never been but yet was familiar to me from chasing, and the whole stressful feeling of “will we get there in time...” - although traffic jams are not usually a factor in chasing like they were for the eclipse [emoji57]
Jul 25, 2019
Howdy neighbor! My husband and I traveled from MN to see the eclipse as well. We lucked out getting a hotel in Chillicothe, MO. The next day we kept driving all over the place to find an area that wasn't obscured by clouds. We finally pulled over in some beat up parking lot in Carrollton, MO. The person next to us had a TV going in the back of his SUV so we all watched the live footage. It was cloudy and we were feeling a bit discouraged as it began to darken, but the haze was just thin enough for us to see the eclipse and diamond ring as the sun began to emerge. I remember bursting into tears and feeling fortunate that we didn't miss out after all.

I don't recall any storms on the way back home that day. The only eventful moment, besides the eclipse, was finding a zombie themed burger joint. It's really fun restaurant named "Zombie Burger", in Des Moines.

Thank you for sharing that story. Three generations on an adventure of a lifetime!
Mar 23, 2009
East Bethel, Minnesota
Howdy neighbor! My husband and I traveled from MN to see the eclipse as well. We lucked out getting a hotel in Chillicothe, MO. The next day we kept driving all over the place to find an area that wasn't obscured by clouds. We finally pulled over in some beat up parking lot in Carrollton, MO. The person next to us had a TV going in the back of his SUV so we all watched the live footage. It was cloudy and we were feeling a bit discouraged as it began to darken, but the haze was just thin enough for us to see the eclipse and diamond ring as the sun began to emerge. I remember bursting into tears and feeling fortunate that we didn't miss out after all.

I don't recall any storms on the way back home that day. The only eventful moment, besides the eclipse, was finding a zombie themed burger joint. It's really fun restaurant named "Zombie Burger", in Des Moines.

Thank you for sharing that story. Three generations on an adventure of a lifetime!
I'm glad I was able to finally post this adventure. I had tried back in 2017, but this Forum had a 10,000 character limit and wouldn't allow me to post the complete adventure.

You missed out on the storms because you went back to Minnesota. We had rented the camp site for another day so we could visit the local museums etc., after all the crowds left. All the storms were in Missouri and Kansas. See what you missed by going home too soon. :) I don't know where Chillicothe, MO is. I had studied the weather maps and roads before we left Minnesota, just in case we'd have to travel to get a good view. It paid off, although it was a bit of leap of faith, as I was operating on maps and charts I had printed out 36 hours prior to the event.
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Jul 25, 2019
My husband sussed out the hotel by searching the path and then went to find hotels in less populated areas. I'm glad it worked out for both of us. Not sure I'd say I "missed" getting rained on while floating away in a tent. ;)
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Mar 23, 2009
East Bethel, Minnesota
My husband sussed out the hotel by searching the path and then went to find hotels in less populated areas. I'm glad it worked out for both of us. Not sure I'd say I "missed" getting rained on while floating away in a tent. ;)
I simply had waited too long to book any reservations. That isn't going to happen with the 2024 total eclipse in Indianapolis, IN. I am going to start looking in early 2023!
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Jul 25, 2019
I simply had waited too long to book any reservations. That isn't going to happen with the 2024 total eclipse in Indianapolis, IN. I am going to start looking in early 2023!
No kidding! My husband and I were thinking of booking something maybe in Virginia or Tennessee. Unfortunately, we read that some people who were pro-active in getting reservations way in advance in some areas in 2017 had their rooms cancelled so they could re-open them at a higher cost. Sheesh. Hope that doesn't happen going ahead.
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Jun 24, 2010
Norman, OK
My roommates and I planned our trip months in advance. We chose Eastern Missouri/Western Illinois because it was supposedly the area of longest totality and I have a friend who lives around St. Louis who was willing to let us crash at her apartment.

We ended up viewing the eclipse from a Starbucks in Sullivan, MO. There were clouds in the sky but they weren't thick enough to prevent us from seeing the full event from start to finish. It was a fun experience, one I can't wait to to again in 2024.

Jeff House

Jun 1, 2008
Chattanooga, TN
I put a rather personal account in the Photography section back in 2017. Recency bias has faded. Now I can make an unbiased assessment. Yup, it was the best day of my life. What about my wedding? What about my daughter being born? Well, they were both with me!

She was 5 at the time. Barely understood some of the science, but enough to be exited. Kindergarten teacher is awesome, plus she fed on my anticipation. We were ready to roll! 30 minutes up the road, haha. As it got dark she said something about brushing her teeth. In all the excitement I forgot to ask if she's joking or playing along. At any rate it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Aurora is close though. Daughter still talks about the eclipse.

After days of being neurotic over the forecast, fair wx cu dissipated about 20 minutes before totality. April should be easier forecasting, synoptic vs mesoscale. I'll be there in 2024. And 2045 - six minutes in Dixie - I'll be there even if it's in a wheelchair.