Well not quite a total eclipse. Here in the Portland Oregon area we were at 99% totality. The library had a viewing party at a local park where we handed out viewers and had some other fun activities. People started lining up to get viewers at 8:00 am, when we arrived to set up. The eclipse actually started a little bit after 9:00.
Right before we left the library we decided to grab a pack of index cards and some thumbtacks to make some impromptu pinhole viewers. My coworker thought of bringing sheets of white paper so we could see if we could witness the shadow bands. That turned out to be a brilliant idea because we also used it to help view the eclipse through the pinhole viewer.
I actually had so much more fun seeing the indirect effects of the eclipse. It didn’t get really dark here. Probably more like Twilight dark. The street lights turned on and I could see a planet shining like a bright star in the distance. I didn’t notice any other stars (but I was not really looking up either). I became really focused on the white paper and the shadow bands, which we did end up seeing, and which were really awesome! And then it seemed like it all ended really quickly. I felt kind of bad that I didn’t look through the viewer during the time the moon was most blocking the sun, but oh well. I’ll just have to go chase the next total eclipse in a few years. 🙂
It was really fun to get together with a bunch of people in my community and connect over something so awesome and amazing and science-y.