Solar Eclipse of 21 August 2017
as seen from Western Nebraska, U.S.A.
photos by G.P. Jones using Nikon Coolpix L830 digital
The original choice for "base camp" was York, Nebraska, mainly
because when I made the reservation about two months before the event,
York was the only place in the path of totality that still had a room
Weather forecasts for York, however, were not favorable - considerable
cloud cover predicted at the point of totality (13:00) - so I drove about
80 miles West, following the beckoning blue sky. (Clouds were moving East,
as usual, which is toward the left of this picture.)
This cornfield, with clearing skies and no silly "eclipse-viewing
parties" (which I viewed as decadent and to be avoided) seemed ideal.
Just before "first contact" - the beginning of the partial phase
of the eclipse - the sun was behind these thin clouds, and the blue
sky (top-right here) was advancing nicely.
Just after "first contact", the last few remaining
clouds were moving out of the way, just as requested (!).
The location proved to be perfect.
For the record, there is no way to photograph adequately a solar eclipse,
just as there is no way to look directly at the progress (until the moments
One can only get images available through very thick, dense filters.
NASA does better, of course, so I refer you to their photographs for
The short period of totality - at this location, just over two minutes -
places you and your surroundings in a completely different world,
a different dimension.
Not only is it impossible to photograph this magic, it is also
pointless to try and describe it.
All analogies, and even metaphors, are hopelessly inadequate.
The shadow cast by the moon is about 70 miles in diameter, so any
clouds or land features outside of that circle are lit in sunset/sunrise
This view is to the SouthWest from my vantage point, but the same
type of light makes a full circle around you, with a near-pitch-black sky
above and the jewel of the sun's corona at the centre.
This must be seen in person.
On the way back to York that afternoon, an irresistible urge to make fun
of Nebraska farm equipment seized me.
The next day, while wending my way back to Omaha where the airplanes
take (and bring) people back home, I had the pleasure (no joke) of
wending through the town of Wahoo.
Who knew this was a claim to fame (or that it would need a building
The Wasp Newspaper building offers (at least) a double meaning, eh?
The newspaper was founded in the 1870s (if my Web sources are accurate),
and probably was given its name as a comment on the big-city Omaha Bee
newspaper, founded some time earlier.