There are 149 miles between my farthest north and south work locations. On Monday, August 21, 2017 I happened to be at the northern location. The day of the eclipse. This put me in about the 70% of solar eclipse range.
I go south weekly and only go to this most northern facility once a month. Luck of the draw, really. I had made the schedule a month in advance, without the eclipse in mind.
The picture above is using binoculars to focus the sun on my jeans. I tried white paper at first. Do. Not. Do. That. I wore that crescent on my retina for half an hour. Tried blue paper. Red paper. A black smooth-ish object. Finally, denim seemed just right for confirmation the eclipse was happening without blinding my eyes.
The company man for another oil major showed up. He had a welding shield, but said their safety man told them it didn’t block the right rays for direct viewing. But, I figured it’d make a nice filter for the phone camera. Check.
Meanwhile, my dad, daughter, son and I were group texting. Someone with my son had the “official” eclipse-viewing sunglasses. Made of paper. One-off, I think. His picture was a tiny orange thumbnail through a lens. My daughter sent a nice picture. She was a little north of me at Lubbock, at a Texas Tech viewing party, beneath a nice scrim of clouds.
My daughter texted, “Use puddles to see it.” I swear, for about five seconds, I was going to open the app store to look for the Puddles eclipse viewing app. Doh! Hey, I had a phone in my hand. Then I saw water in the containment under a nearby chemical tank, and it hit me. Got a nice picture, what with the ripples on the water and the building clouds.
For the duration of my job at that location, at what is usually the hottest part of the day, it was dim and relatively cool. I suggested we petition for an eclipse each afternoon in summer. Someone make it happen. How big would the satellite have to be—to cover where I work?
Next stop, the Dallas area for the 2024 eclipse. That’s like a day trip from here.