I was surprised at how moved I was watching yesterday’s total solar eclipse online. I checked into the Exploratorium and ESO feeds for nearly the entire eclipse. When everyone cheered at totality I got all choked up. A friend in Buenos Aires, where it was unfortunately cloudy except for a brief minute, sent regular photo updates. For here, the situation looked dire until the final seconds when she saw the bottom half of the totally eclipsed sun poke out just minutes before sunset. Another friend had better weather and posted many nice phone images of the moon crossing the sun until the time of totality. Thank you all!
Where the sky was clear observers reported spectacular sightings of Bailey’s Beads — kernels of sunlight streaming between mountains in profile along the moon’s edge that were visible immediately before and after totality. The corona, with two broad “wings” extending from either side of the sun, glowed from within a softer disk of light. Here’s the best photo I’ve come across that captures the soul-stirring beauty of the event. It was taken by renowned astrophotographer Thierry Legault from the shore of the lake La Cuesta Del Viento with the Andes Mts. in the background near Rodeo, Argentina.
I also like Piqui Díaz’s mobile phone shot taken after hours staring hopelessly at a wall of clouds in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Diaz helped others make eclipse-viewing devices and shared solar eclipse glasses while standing the ready with her mobile phone. In the end, she succeeded in seeing the eclipsed sun at the last possible moment, writing in an e-mail:
“Everyone hugged me. We saw a little bit at just the end, but it was enough. Amazing. Beautiful. We also froze.”
Yes, froze. Not only is it winter in Buenos Aires but the moon gradually covered the sun as it slid toward sunset, accelerating the temperature decline. Many observers reported a steep temperature drop as the opaque moon filtered the sun’s light and heat for some two hours.
Enjoy the images and may they motivate you to travel to see the next eclipse. For assistance in that department, check out this list of all upcoming solar eclipses through the year 3000. That should tide you over.