In August 2017 Yettoner Robert Williams, a keen member of Huddersfield Astronomy Society, travelled to the USA to watch a total eclipse* of the sun.
The 2017 Solar Eclipse crossed a significant portion of continental USA. As such there was about 200 million people who were within a 5 hour car or a 2 hour plane ride from the centre line.
He travelled to Oregon which had the best chance of clear skies.
‘Our eclipse observing base in Salem (Oregon, not Massachusetts) was Willamette University – one of the most prestigious private universities in the USA. In its grounds a large area had been set up for about 20,000 general visitors and we had a separate and secure courtyard facing south for our group’
Salem – with a population of about 170,000 was expecting another 30,000+ eclipsomaniacs [Defn. people who just love to see eclipses] arriving. Many of these were set up in large tent-cities in the city’s many parks and open spaces.
On the outskirts of Salem we also saw huge numbers of campsites with RVs everywhere. We found out that residents of Salem had been charging around $1000 per person per night for accommodation for visit!
This was – is – my 5th eclipse trip as I do plan to go on others. In the previous 4 trips I had got more experience of what to expect and how to get an image of the various phases of the eclipse including totality. So, I had taken quite a bit of kit with me – basically two of everything – tripods, DSLR cameras [One for still images , one for videoing the eclipse], lenses and – most importantly – solar filters – as these are essential during the partial phases. As back-up I had my smartphone and I took a GoPro Hero camera to do a ’20-minute time-lapse’ of before, during and after the eclipse.
The moon starting to block out the sun as seen from Earth
The moon almost completely blocking the sun’s light.
It was worth it. Go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/56553919@N04/albums/72157685472192594 to see the photos of my trip.’
Where next? He’s contemplating an eclipse trip to Chile in 2019 and perhaps in 2020, an eclipse trip to Argentina, so hopefully he will share his photos with us then.
For a more detailed account of his trip click here
*A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and when the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun.