2024 Total Solar Eclipse Reports

We had broken clouds here in Southern New Jersey all day, then it cleared for the partial eclipse. Less then 10 mins after the maximum coverage... clouds rolled in thick, lol. Happy to hear people got a decent look. Makes me even more driven to make the trip to Morocco in 2027.
I went a bit South of Boxley Arkansas and was happy the clouds weren’t an issue. I took pictures,(with my phone) but when the money shot was getting close and it was getting dark, my phone went into dark mode where it takes it’s sweet old time gathering light for a picture. I couldn’t hold it still enough to get a picture that resembled anything you could recognize. I meant to take my decent camera with and practice while waiting, but forgot.
It was still a great experience, especially since it was 1979 since I saw my last eclipse. It was nice to see clouds weren’t as big of an issue along much of the path than was feared.
We ended up in Salem IL at their public library, which had a special inflatable planetarium display, other activities, and free ice cream (!) before the eclipse. Longer totality than last time and the high thin clouds didn't dampen the view at all. Also saw the pink solar prominences. No traffic issues other than having to go around a bottleneck afterward on US 51 south of Vandalia (just north of the totality path). We were gone from home exactly 12 hours from start to finish, and mama kitty and kittens did just fine.
Watched the eclipse from my home in Plano TX in the totality path. We came very close to missing it because of clouds, but had a perfect view. 3 minutes after totality ended the sun was completely obscured by clouds for the next 5 minutes, but right before and during totality we had not a single cloud blocking the view. I decided I was going to focus on enjoying the moment and didn't make photography a priority. I did put my largest lens on my DLSR, but forgot to set anything up (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) and it was to dark too see the dial during the eclipse, so I just had to settle for an overexposed cell phone shot, but I did get to enjoy it without worrying much about photos.

One of the things that amazed me was how quite it was - no cars, no lawn mowers, no birds. Only the occasional squeal of a neighbors kid in delight.

As for traffic - the lack of it blew me away. I went in to work that AM and the roads were empty and very few people at the office. Leaving work at lunch to head home every hotel lawn was full of people and every parking garage was covered on the top deck with people, but the drive home the road was almost empty (strange for a traffic congested big city). After the eclipse my chase partner and I headed out to chase and went west from the metroplex and we figured traffic would be a mess with everyone leaving at the same time (like after a ballgame or fireworks show), but other than normal congestion in the usual areas of NE Loop 830, I-20 in Weatherford, and I-20 near Thurber where a bridge is under construction, we had smooth sailing. The congested areas also seemed much lighter in traffic than normal. I guess all the talk of traffic jams and clouds in TX scared folks off or had them staying home.
NOTE - originally posted in the Eclipse Weather Prospects thread and moved here once I realized Dan had started this Reports thread.

Eclipse Chase Report - Monday, April 8, 2024

Summary: Despite making plans nine months ago centered around Dallas, I saw the eclipse with my family in Patten, Maine. Skies were completely clear.

Logistics and Forecast: I won't belabor this because the last minute changes and agonizing uncertainty are documented in my earlier posts in the Eclipse Weather Prospects thread. Suffice to say that the ultimate target was the eastern Maine portion of the path of totality.

Detailed Report:

We left our hotel in Bangor sometime around 8:30am. The initial plan was to take I-95 to Sherman. Sherman was in the path of totality and would have 3:12 of totality, just about 10 seconds shy of the maximum totality closer to the centerline in places like Merrill or Mt. Chase. From Sherman, we would decide whether to head to Patten on route 11, or Island Falls on I-95. I just wanted to beat the traffic and get to Sherman, and then study the map further to find an area that looked good and then have time to get there and scout out a good viewing area.

There were no issues with traffic heading north on I-95. I assume that on a normal day there would be almost no cars in this area of Maine. This time there were plenty, but traffic was moving at or above the 75 mph speed limit. In Sherman, we stopped at a gas station that was packed. We waited quite a while on line for the one restroom, but enjoyed chatting with other eclipse chasers. We topped off the tank and decided to head toward Patten and then possibly cut east to a church parking lot between Patten and Island Falls. On Route 11 north of Sherman, there was a fantastic overlook with a view of the western sky and snow-capped mountains in the background. The road was already lined with cars. I slightly panicked that we were already too late, even though it was only 10:45am. We continued on toward Patten and then drove around looking for a similar high spot, trying unsuccessfully to use the Google Maps terrain overlay for guidance, worried about wasting too much more time. We settled upon a spot that was not quite as good as the one we had seen, but was pretty good. There was a solar farm in front of us, but it overlooked the valley, had an unimpeded view of the southwestern sky where the eclipse would be, and a snow-capped mountain was visible to the south. We were maybe the second car to park along this road, but it eventually became as filled as the first we had seen. In retrospect, we probably had plenty of time, it's just that the first spot was so ideal it filled up quickly.

We watched the eclipse from the beginning. Right before totality, the lighting was so unusual. I can't find the words to describe it. I did not see Bailey's Beads or the "diamond ring" effect this time. When everything went completely black I took my glasses off and although this wasn't my first eclipse I gasped at the sight of totality and I don't mind admitting that tears came to my eyes. In 2017 I did not want to waste any time trying to take pictures; I didn't even have my DSLR with me then. This time, it being my second eclipse and having a minute more of totality than I had last time, I brought my DSLR and tried to take a picture. The shutter wouldn't release. I found myself fumbling around with it to make sure manual focus was on but then I said screw it, I felt like I was already wasting too much time. I took one quick picture with my iPhone but could tell on screen that it looked nothing like what I was actually seeing. I do not even want to look at that or any other pictures because they will supersede the memory of my own visuals. I stopped worrying about pictures so I could just enjoy it. I felt myself shivering a bit, either from the cooler temperatures, or the emotion of the scene, or both. Birds became much more active with their songs as they do at dusk. I heard some animal howl in the woods. Stars were out, and the western horizon glowed orange. I couldn't see a 360 degree sunset because there was a hill behind me. As I stared at totality the light of the corona was blurring the image for me a bit (maybe because my eyes were still moist 😏) I heard someone in the crowd say something about seeing some red or pink, which I noticed after hearing it (a tiny "spike" at about 5 o'clock on the circle), and realized only later, after hearing it mentioned by others, that it was probably a solar flare. The "diamond" appeared now at the end of totality - I couldn't believe three minutes and twenty seconds (the time of totality at Patten) had already passed, and I was disappointed it was over already.

We left very quickly after totality ended. We stayed only long enough for a family group hug, and for the guy in the car next to us to take a picture of our family for us. We had to pass back through that first crowded spot in Sherman but got through it pretty easily. We made it to I-95 and the trip to Bangor was uneventful. Traffic slowed a few times to a stop, but it was not bumper-to-bumper for any significant distance. I'm surprised it got as congested as it did, considering that we were pretty much on the leading edge of people leaving, and I don't think there were any roads coming into I-95 ahead of us with a big influx of eclipse chasers. I think traffic only added about 15 or 20 minutes at most to our 90 mile trip back to Bangor. We enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse.

Random Thoughts:

- At the gas station in Sherman, I overheard part of a conversation between an eclipse chaser and the cashier. The cashier must have said she couldn't watch the eclipse because she had to work. The guy said to her "If a partial eclipse of even 99% is like seeing a lightning bug, totality is like getting struck by lightning. Get your ass out there and watch it!"

- On that note - so few people realize the significant difference between a partial eclipse and a total eclipse. They don't understand why it's worth traveling to the path of totality, when they can see the partial at home. If someone tells me about enjoying the partial eclipse and how cool it was, I'm not going to ruin their memory of the experience by telling them it's nothing compared to totality. But if anyone ever talks like they think I’m crazy to travel so far to see it when I could have just seen it at home, you can bet I will straighten them out about it :)

- In retrospect I was too worried about things that turned out fine - like traffic, availability of services in rural areas, snow depth and mud after the recent snowstorm, etc. And I probably didn't need to be as worried about finding a spot. I might have had time to go up to Mt. Chase or find some other higher point with a better view. But at the end of the day you're just looking up at the sky, so I guess the rest of the locale really doesn't matter too much. And our spot was quite good. I probably underestimated the importance of being on high ground and not in the middle of the trees. I did not end up in the middle of the trees, I’m just saying I should have done a bit more site selection analysis in advance. But that would have been difficult, considering I didn't even choose a final target region until Sunday/Monday.

- I don't want to diminish the experience in any way. But I guess it was inevitable that nothing could match the awe of the first one, because I had no idea what to expect that first time.

- During totality, I heard a vehicle drive by behind me on the road we were on. How could somebody drive along and not stop to look at it?!? Even if it was a commercial vehicle and people had to work, how could you not pull over for three minutes? Unless it was a first responder, there is no explanation…

- I was so happy to give my wife and children this experience. They were with me in 2017 too. But the kids were seven years younger, which makes a huge difference - my son was only 14 then, and my twin girls were only 10. They appreciated it much more this time, and I'm sure they will retain it more.

- The late change in plans from Texas to New England didn't end up wasting as much money as I was worried it would. Even with the original Texas plans, I was prepared to waste two hotel nights to make sure I could be in a clear area. I was able to cancel one of the hotels in the middle of last week. I wasn't able to cancel the other two, but I was always prepared to waste the cost of two room nights. In New England I had hotels in both Bangor and in New Hampshire (for a possible Vermont target). The NH hotel was non-cancellable, but the manager there allowed me to cancel with no charge after all. I had to cancel my flights to TX, but I have flight credits I can use for the family's next trip; in fact my son and I will use flight credits for our storm chasing trip next month.

- The minds that have mapped out the cosmos to the point where these things can be predicted mathematically are amazing to me and far beyond my intellect.

- I love to imagine how a total eclipse must have panicked people in ancient times, before they knew what was happening!

- I hope I am alive and healthy/mobile enough for the next one in 20 years. But I wouldn’t rule out Iceland in 2026 - it’s a place that was already on my bucket list to visit, and from the east coast it’s a shorter flight than to some American cities.
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Bill Coyle and I traveled to Colebrook, New Hampshire to observe the 2024 eclipse. We were willing to go wherever we needed within the US to avoid clouds. Bill originally had a flight booked into St. Louis from Virginia Beach, and we had hotel or family lodging options secured in Shreveport, LA, Dayton, Ohio, Pittsburgh, PA and my place in St. Louis.

Within a few days of the eclipse, cloud concerns prompted us to cancel Bill's flight to St. Louis as well as our Shreveport hotel. 2 days prior, we decided to go to our Pittsburgh option on Saturday to stage for either Indiana/Ohio or New England. By Sunday morning, we committed to New England and were able to get a hotel in Keene, New Hampshire. Instead of going out of the way to Pittsburgh, Bill drove directly up from VA Beach on Saturday with a stopover in Scranton Saturday night. I stayed at my parent's place in the Pittsburgh area and headed northeast Sunday. We arrived in Keene that evening. My brother and his family (from Raleigh, NC) and my sister and her family (from Boston) were also on their way to the area.

We woke up at 3:30am and headed north to St. Johnsbury on I-91. That was the farthest north we could go and still have the northeast option into Maine. We eventually moved up to Lyndon, noting the traffic increasing to the point that we wanted to finalize a spot soon. We opted to go north to Colebrook to hedge enough east against the cirrus deck moving in from the west. We still had the ability to go farther north and east if needed, but that road would end at the Canadian border with no further east options.

We had no real traffic issues going up to Colebrook, getting there at 9am. The roads up there are all 2-lane, traffic was continuous but still moving at a good clip. Meanwhile my brother and his family had flown in from Raleigh, NC and made their way to our spot about 2 hours later. My sister and her family all had schedule commitments on Tuesday, so they were looking to minimize their traffic impacts. They headed to Sheffield along I-91.

We initially set up in a parking lot on the south side of town with a hundred or so other people. Bill has a 600mm lens with a tracking mount, so he needed some time to get set up. My brother was looking for a rural location, so he found one across the river in Vermont on a mountain road. I decided I liked that spot better, as it was more scenic, had snow on the ground and there were no other people around up there. Bill's setup was complicated and not easily moved, so he chose to stay in town. Bathrooms were the other problem with staying in town. There were only 2 or 3 bathrooms at the gas station and a couple other businesses, all had 20-30 people in line by 11:00am. Bill said people were walking down to the river or out into the woods to use the bathroom.

I didn't have any big plans for documenting the eclipse, as my gear is more lightning and winter weather-purposed. I don't have a quality long lens and would have had to rent one if I'd wanted better stills. I decided to put my drone in the air about 10 minutes prior to totality and just let it record the landscape in realtime, then shoot zoomed video with my main video camera and stills with my DSLR at 50mm and 10mm.

We had an excellent view of the eclipse, with crystal-clear skies. The cirrus deck was in view to the distant west, but was never a threat to our sky. The sky was much darker during this eclipse's totality than the one in 2017.

We decided to try leaving about 20 minutes after totality. The river along the NH/VT state line had two parallel roads, we took the secondary one on the VT side instead of the main state highway on the NH side. We encountered several stop-and-go backups that accounted for about 90 minutes of extra travel time. The backups at this point were all moving along at 5 to 10mph, so they were pretty much what we'd expected and not really that bad.

Bill had managed to book another hotel room in Lincoln, NH for $300 that would cut the distance to our lodging in half this night as opposed to going to Keene. We all got separated at 9pm after traveling through Lancaster. I encountered another backup at Bethlehem, just before arriving at I-93. Unlike the others, this one was not moving at all. After 20 minutes at a standstill with another 20 miles of backup still to go through Franconia Notch, I decided it would be better to turn around and head east to Conway, then come into Lincoln on a back road from the east. Traffic maps showed this route was mostly green, and even though it was an 83-mile detour, would likely be faster than going through the 27-mile standstill backup through Franconia Notch. I made it to the Lincoln hotel at 11pm. (It turns out the reason for the backup is that I-93 goes down to one lane in each direction through the notch.)

Bill was able to make it around the Franconia jam by diverting to the west. My brother and his family were not so fortunate. They were stuck firmly in the standstill backup on I-93 at Franconia, eventually deciding to pull over and sleep. They did not make it back to their Franklin lodging until 2am.

Here is the video from my drone, main video camera and 3 of my dashcams. My drone ended up capturing the movement of the shadow across the landscape, which was my favorite of my captures.

100% crops from my Canon 50mm F1.8:


22mm wide angle:


My 4K video camera got a better picture than my DSLR, thanks to it having a longer zoom than the lenses I had:

My short eclipse chase can only be described as a comedy of errors, with countless parallels to the storm chases I've most flagrantly overthought and allowed neurotic antsiness to bury me on. Thankfully, the experience of totality was still amazing and I wasn't highly invested in a specific photo or outcome, so it's mostly just funny to me.

I had booked a motel in Weatherford, TX, several months ago, with the northern Hill Country as my intended target. Cloud forecasts looked terrible for that area all through last week, which scared me away... but, having seen 2017, I was not quite serious enough to consider faraway destinations like IN, OH, NY, etc. Not that a total eclipse isn't worth that type of travel; I was just very concerned about the worst-case scenarios for traffic, trying to migrate back home during the workweek in between 8-hour remote work days, and possibly missing chase setups.

So, my new range of targets was now the swath from NE TX to S IL. I was torn between trying to leave early in the morning from OKC vs. booking a new motel... which would likely have to be well outside totality at this point, given availability. But when I found a roadside motel in Hugo, OK, still available Sunday for less than $150 and inside totality, I jumped on it. I figured there was no downside; it would give me MUCH easier access to NE TX or far SE OK than leaving from OKC, while still keeping C-N AR roughly the same distance.

Well, you know that saying about plans and getting punched in the mouth. The "bargain" motel ended up having one of the most uncomfortable beds I've ever encountered on the road, and I probably got less than an hour of sleep Sunday night. By Monday morning, I was delirious, and had already resigned myself to hoping for the best in the NE TX-SE OK zone. The way I felt, it would've been borderline reckless to shoot NE deep into the Ozarks and commit to possibly a 6-8 hour drive home, given the inevitable traffic chokepoints in that road network.

Right on cue, strato-cu flooded into the Red River valley by mid-late morning as the low level moisture surge outpaced many model projections. By 10am, I kind of knew I'd blown it by not pushing myself to haul ass NE earlier in the morning, but it was getting too late. So I dove south into TX and spent the final couple hours staring at vis sat, almost paralyzed with the inevitability of failure. Eventually, I realized regardless of where clouds looked bad on any one vis sat snapshot, I just needed to push as far SW as possible for the least stable PBL. I made it to Greenville with under an hour to spare and started feeling much more optimistic, as skies were broken and the clouds there looked much more cumuliform... albeit still somewhat flat, and clearly remnant from earlier strato-cu.

At T-30 minutes, I was looking golden right around Greenville, as Cu had mostly cleared out and the sun was shining bright above me... but it was obvious that another large batch of strato-cu was looming to the S, quickly advecting toward me. I preemptively shot NW just to give myself some buffer. At T-5 minutes, I came upon wide open fields of bluebonnets near Clinton, TX, and still had clear skies above with some buffer remaining to the S. I had envisioned getting bluebonnets as a foreground in the Hill Country all along, so I stopped and set up the tripod. By T-2 minutes, strato-cu began surging in. It wasn't just that my buffer had closed; it was obvious that strato-cu was actively developing and filling in around me due to the cooling PBL, so it wouldn't have even mattered if I'd continued N another couple miles.


So anyway, here's my highly compromised view in all its glory. I would say that of the ~4 minutes of totality near Greenville, about 1m30s of it featured a clear view of the corona. Somehow, the corona seemed considerably more spectacular than in 2017... I'm not sure if the slight dimming through clouds made it easier to look at without fatigue, or if it was just rationalization on my part. The red prominence coming off the lower portion of the sun was absolutely crystal clear to the naked eye, and even shows up in these 14 mm frames (!). As the thicker patches of strato-cu passed over the sun, it got almost midnight dark, which is something I hadn't experienced with my clear view in 2017. Other than the fact that I'd have preferred 2m30s of corona and 1m30s of deep darkness over the reverse, the in-person experience was still awesome, and in some ways a cool complement to the sunny summer skies of 2017. It was really the opportunity for a wall-worthy wide angle landscape shot that the clouds killed. I can live with that, though, as I've never put a ton of emphasis on the photography aspect of eclipses (I didn't really even shoot stills of 2017 at all).

All that being said, I can only imagine the chills my story and photo send down the spines of more committed eclipse chasers like James and Dan... this has to be close to their nightmare scenario. Dan's video of the hillside shadow transition is one of a million cool shots that are largely foreclosed by even partial cloudiness below cirrus level, to say nothing of shadow bands, etc.

To recap, though: 1) I wanted to target the Hill Country all along, but ended up not staying in a room I'd booked near there, and their skies ultimately cleared out better than NE TX and SE OK; 2) even just to my W, much of the DFW metroplex magically cleared out overhead with minutes to spare, the exact reverse of my experience near Greenville; 3) almost everyone else in OKC interested in the eclipse just got up Monday morning and casually drove down I-40 to W AR, where the view was crystal clear, and return traffic was annoying but not awful. Realistically, almost any choice other than getting antsy and staying in SE OK on Sunday night likely would've resulted in less clouds for me.

I did make it home before dinnertime, at least. 🤣

To me, there's one overwhelming actionable lesson among my comedy of errors: TRAFFIC CONCERNS ARE HIGHLY OVERRATED. This proved to be the case across 95% of the country in 2017, but I convinced myself this would be categorically different, due to people chasing clear skies within the shorter overall path across the CONUS. In reality, traffic was not worth using as a deciding factor for plans unless you were on a very constrained timetable and needed to drive back to a place like Chicago or NYC the same day.
Might want to change thread title to "2024-04-08 Reports..."

We wanted to make this trip a single-day trip and not stay overnight since we were only 120-150 miles from totality to begin with. We ended up in Salem IL at the local library which had some neat pre-eclipse activities for kids and adults, including a giant inflatable planetarium. Out in the parking lot there was also complimentary ice cream, courtesy of a local ice cream shop owner. The whole show was visible from the parking lot and the weather was almost perfect -- temps around 70, just some very slight high clouds. I saw the solar prominences/flares clearly but didn't see quite as much of the corona this time, but that may have been because my eyesight ain't what it used to be. It was a fun experience nonetheless and we only ran into a couple of short traffic backups on the way home. Much better travel weather this time than in 2017 when it was scorching hot and humid and we ran into a thunderstorm on the way home.

After having seen both the 2017 and 2024 eclipses in southern IL I have to agree that traffic concerns are highly overrated, particularly before eclipse time (since people tend not to all arrive at once) and in retrospect we left earlier and took a more circuitous route than was necessary.
I am still en route home on a 10-day trip that combined the eclipse with a family visit, and have a fair amount of work still to do on my pictures and a detailed report, so I will just post a few pics, a brief summary, and some observations on differences between this eclipse and the 2017 one here now. Eventually I will post a full report to my website and will post a link in this thread. Also, I will not re-post the pics here that I posted earlier in the eclipse weather thread. We watched the eclipse at the Fort Kaskaskia State Historical Site in Illinois. This is atop a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It is the same place my daughter and her family saw the 2017 eclipse (my wife and I saw that one in Nebraska), so it was their second experience of totality in the same place!

My first picture has nothing to do with the eclipse. It is of one of the numerous dust devils that formed before the eclipse across the river and below us on Kaskaskia Island:


There were many of these before the eclipse, but once it was under way and the air cooled, they stopped. The next picture is of the approaching darkness and the unusual light right before totality:


I took this picture with my phone, as I had the DSLRs set up for the eclipse and did not want to disturb that. Naturally, the phone tried to compensate for the low light, so it took a fair amount of post-processing to get it back to what it really looked like, but this is pretty close.

Finally, here is a wider-angle view of totality than what I posted earlier in the other thread:


In my experience of this eclipse, it was different in three ways from the one in 2017:

1. The visible corona was much larger and less uniform, and seemed brighter, in 2017. The corona in the 2024 eclipse did not visibly extend nearly as far from the sun, and was more uniform in how far it did extend. The 2017 corona had three distinct points, one more or less straight up and another pointing upward and to the right. The third one pointed downward and to the left, aligned roughly with a line that would have passed in the center between the two upward ones. The 2024 corona, in contrast, was much more round, more like a ring around the sun that faded as it got farther from it, but not extending nearly as far from it as the one in 2017. It also did not seem quite as bright as the corona in 2017.

2. It was noticeably darker with the 2024 eclipse than with the 2017 eclipse - felt more like night. I suspect both this difference and the one in the size and perhaps brightness of the coronas are because the moon was closer to earth in the 2024 eclipse (also accounting for the longer time of totality in 2024), and thus let through a little less of the light from the corona. But some of the difference may also be tied to differences in the solar cycle, at a high point of activity in 2024 and at a low point in 2017.

3. No doubt due to this difference in the solar activity cycle, there were no prominences visible in 2017, but there were several in 2024. Nobody in our group saw the prominences with their naked eye (though I heard some people did), but they were clearly visible in all of my photos (taken with a 70-300 zoom lens, almost fully zoomed in at a focal length of 270 mm). Even in the picture of the "diamond ring" at the end of totality, there is still at least one prominence clearly visible. And I am sure they could be seen with any good telescope or binoculars.

Again, a more detailed report and additional pictures in a link to be posted once I get home and have some more time to work on this.
I had been targeting S TX all along, basically somewhere between San Antonio and The Rio Grande. Actually, I had spotted Enchanted Rock State Natural Area back in February and set reminders on my phone to wake up at 7 AM on March 11th - the first day you could call the park and reserve a day pass for the eclipse. My phone record shows I called them 37 times, 26 of them between 7:03-7:26 AM. As you could have guessed, the line was busy every single time. Eventually I gave up and went back to sleep, calling every 30 or so minutes after waking up for good. Finally, around 11 AM I got through, only to be told I should expect about 35 minutes of waiting online to get to a human being. First time, I gave them a callback number. Then I thought better of waiting for that and just bit the bullet and stayed online through the repeating standby music. After nearly 45 minutes someone finally picked up. Of course they no longer had any day passes.

Well, given how things turned out, that probably wasn't a bad thing.

Despite the consistent forecasts of heavy cloud cover through the week before the eclipse, I stuck with my plan...until Thursday night. At that point I had seen enough - nearly every single operational NWP model was predicting basically overcast conditions across the entire state; simply driving 3 hours northeast from a San Antonio base wasn't going to cut it. I made a hotel reservation in Texarkana for a not-absurd amount, then one in Jefferson City, MO. Made the call late Friday that there was no point going to Texas. And I'm glad I made that call. While it looks like the clouds parted just enough for a brief clear view of totality, I ended up having a nearly 100% clear sky view in southeast MO instead. As my picture below shows, there were only tiny-thin cirrus wisps at my location, and they did nothing to interfere with the view!

I used Google street view to scope out individual roadside locations for viewing. I had an elaborate Google Map with locations to quickly reference. Up until last Friday, they were all in TX. I scrambled to cover MO. I found this awesomely idyllic scene of what appeared to be a dilapidated barn just off a corner of MO-91 a few miles north of Advance, MO, and that was my primary target the rest of the way. I found several other good spots between Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff, but wanted to stay away from both towns to avoid the likely significant traffic. It worked. My wife and I shared this scene with only a few older ladies who traveled from Kansas (and had also been planning on viewing it in TX, too until they changed plans) and one guy who moved when we arrived...he looked like a tweaker and spent the entire eclipse down the road and around a corner, mostly buried below the field vegetation.

Lots of burning going on in both KS and MO. We had active fires to both our S and SW during the eclipse. With occasional stronger S gusts leading up to the eclipse, it left a pleasant campfire odor drifting through our site.

Totality was amazing! I don't remember it having gotten so dark during the 2017 eclipse when I was in Nebraska. So calm and tranquil. I had to rush through my tasks during totality, however, which started off with a bottled shot of honey whiskey with my wife just after C2. Then I scrambled to change lenses a few times to snap respective shots and to try to enjoy some time doing nothing. It felt like it went so fast! I missed on my aim crossing C3 and so my best diamond ring phase shot is what is attached. Like others have mentioned, I could also see the prominences, especially that one at the south pole of the disk. Seeing the darkening sky off to the SW before C2 and NE after C3 reminded me of watching a big thunderstorm roll in.


This was my first time shooting with a used 300-mm lens and a solar filter I got for the holidays, so I'm not sure about this. But it seemed like my photos of the sun with the filter on were ever so slightly fuzzy. Then there was this interesting artifact I noticed just after C3:
I presume the "frayed" nature at the end of the arc has something to do with the lens, but what? I've not seen this in others' pictures.

Anyway, the shittiest thing about this was indeed the traffic. We took rural state highways and U.S. 67 to get to our spot from Jefferson City. Hardly any traffic except for a few-mile stretch near Farmington. However, afterward, even though we stayed in our position past C4 and then went down and around Poplar Bluff to get back to U.S. 67, we ran into stopped traffic at several stretches starting just north of Fredericktown and all the way through to Park Hills. That seemed to be overflow traffic trying to get back to St. Louis avoiding Interstate 55, which looked absolutely scary. I had been hoping that picking an "in-between" spot and taking lesser-direct roads through rural areas would save traffic time, but nope. Even some of the other state highways west of 67 had big traffic backups on them for hours after the eclipse. It took us six hours to get back to Jefferson City (granted about 1 of those hours was spent stopped at a restaurant to eat).
Dorian Burnette and I watched from Black Rock, Arkansas. Totality duration 3:58. C2 1:54:31, C3 1:58:29 Central Time.

First @JamesCaruso congratulations twice in 7 years! Same here, I just haven't been on ST for a while. James see my debacle in the Umbral shadow paragraph, lol! All @John Farley I believe is correct on his analysis of the differences between 2017 and 2024.

Saturday the weather forecast firmed up for a mostly clear Arkansas. Few passing cirrus was forecast Mizzou Bootheel, Southern Illinois, and Southern Indiana. At one point central Indiana looked like the high cloud escape. By late Saturday it became apparent Arkansas would have the best odds of the fewest clouds.

Sunday I met Dorian in Memphis. We talked to Casey about the forecast. He will watch from another Arkansas location. Monday as we rolled through Jonesboro, AR it was evident our North Arkansas sky would remain clear. We stopped in Black Rock, AR. Set up in a little park across the street from a Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. It's on!

Partial phase begins with little fanfare as always. Two guys are already there. A family joins. Local neighbors wave and greet us. One last phone call with Casey before things get going. Soon the crescents are under the trees. Deeper into partial the light gets weird. By 70% it's quite obvious and we’re getting pumped. Contrast ramps up, deeper shadows. Colors change a little bit. By 95% it feels like we're on another world. No shadow bands at our location (we did 2017). Too early in the season for cicadas. However, a cat fight happens at about 98%; not sure if related, we just hear the rage somewhere nearby. We’re not sure whether to giggle or ignore it – getting ready for a deeply impactful experience here. We get a classic eclipse breeze, beyond just cooling off. Wind flips 180 degrees to emanate from upstream totality. Then with 30 seconds to go the western sky gets deep navy blue or purple. It's not a sharp shadow, but it's obvious. It's something between a curtain and a waterfall of paint. I don't feel like it's eerie; it's majestic. It means we are about to Totality!

Totality arrives like someone turned off the sun. I catch the diamond ring going in. Careful rehearsal (unlike 2017) pays dividends. Right as the eclipse glasses go dark, I naked eye the diamond ring and its radiance. The moon is darker than I'd imagined. Intellectually I know it'll be black; but wow, it's black alright. Black button sits over the most gorgeous white light I've seen since 2017. 5-6 filaments stick out from the corona fairly evenly spaced around, two are more dominant. Smaller pink/orange prominence is visible at the bottom. Corona has that solar maximum power feel like it just wants to explode! Remaining cirrus looks like noctilucent clouds (they're not). In questionable judgement I naked eye two Bailey's Beads coming out. C2* (going into totality) is relatively safer because our eyes are sun adjusted. C3* (coming out) is risky because our pupils are wide open. Well three days later I can still see. C3 happens quicker than I'd anticipated despite my eclipse timer. Bailey's Beads are bitter-sweet; so beautiful, but totality is over.

Umbral shadow fascinates me. Per rehearsed routine I just watched the umbra coming into totality. C2 goal was the diamond ring. One has to plan a little bit so we don't miss everything happening in such a short time. C3 is the time to photograph the departing umbral shadow, which can be done reasonably easily compared to the actual corona display. Ditto 360 deg. sunset/rise, which we do. I feel like 4 minutes in 2024 went faster than 2:30 in 2017. Hmmm, could have been going back to the car for my regular prescription glasses. Ope! Despite all the rehearsing, that happens? My uncorrected vision is OK, but I had a choice. Give up some detail, or give up some time? I really thought with 4 minutes, give up 20 seconds for my glasses, but I missed the midpoint alert from the App. When totality ended I thought I still had at least a minute. Oh well I’m still so lucky and incredibly blessed! Two in 7 years!!

* Official guidance is never to look at the sun directly. They say even the Diamond Ring and Bailey's Beads are not safe to look at with naked eye.

On the way out we reflect on the powerful emotional experience. Dorian and I enjoy a speaker call with Casey, who watched from another site. 2024 was a classic total solar eclipse. Corona was the power display in my opinion, near solar maximum. 2017 we were near a solar minimum. Corona was less wound up. 2017 finesse corona was asymmetrical but more delicate and majestic with 3 longer streamers leaping across the sky relative to 2024 filaments. However 2024 was darker overall, and filaments still incredible. I feel like 2024 was the classic dark total eclipse. 2017 the sky felt more dark Navy blue, including the Moon. 2017 was a more personal experience for me - likely because it's my first.

Eclipse dinner is obligatory. Usually, we do steak after a documenting something incredible. In Memphis? BBQ obviously! We eat Central BBQ which is indeed the perfect way to conclude an exquisite day. After that we watched UConn eclipse Purdue in the National Championship.

Photos don't do it justice. While a picture is worth 1,000 words, our imagination is worth 1,000 pictures. Ask a professional photographer layering this thing. I chose writing and just cell phone photos. We did not attempt technical photos. Elected minimal gadgets for maximum viewing (except my regular glasses, smh). I double checked myself with two other eclipse accounts. Don't want to forget anything.

Bob Berman. The Sun's Heartbeat. Totality; the Impossible Coincidence chapter
Mabel Loomis Todd. Total Eclipses of the Sun. Description of a Total Eclipse chapter

Totality cellphone, keeping it simple.
Totality 2024.jpg

Departing Umbra shadow photo worked out pretty well.
High clouds don't obstruct. Fake noctilucent, ha.
Sunset 360.jpg
I went to see the eclipse in Indianapolis and when I saw it, it was glorious.

I went to Bloomington Indiana (where the 4-minute range is) and when I got there it was mostly sunny, once I arrived there the eclipse hadn't started. So I waited and there were thin cirrus clouds in the sky and cumulous clouds trying to develop and they failed. Once the eclipse started I watched it and then once the totality happened it got dark and I saw red glows around the moon and Venus and the sun's corona was going crazy, I even took a video of it and it was glorious, good thing I didn't see the cirrus clouds.