August 21, 2017: Happy Birthday Dominica

Monday.  And today Dominica turns thirty nine!  Her last birthday of her thirties.  Today is also the big solar eclipse that is going right across the middle of the United States, something that has not happened for nearly forty years.  This is a really special treat for all of us.

We had some time this morning to relax as the eclipse is not until this afternoon.  Paul had to work this morning, but his office is mostly geared up as a viewing location for the eclipse.  They are having a party there with pizza and stuff and everyone is camping out in the lawn.  So that is our plan to just go there.

It was really cool being right in the center of the path of totality because we got partial eclipse for so much of the day.  It wasn’t something minor that happened for a few minutes, but hours of really interesting effects.

The light started to change early on as the moon approached the sun and before long you could see the quality of light changing and the shape of shadows changing.  Really weird, things you never see outside of an unicorn ice cream

We got to Paul’s office about an hour before the full eclipse.  We had pizza and set up on blankets in the lawn.  It was the perfect viewing spot.  Dozens of people were out with us, and free food, and loads of space.  Really could not have worked out better.

The eclipse itself was insanely cool.  The light was so neat as we got close to the eclipse.  The shadows got so pronounced and the light was so interesting.  It maintained that noon-like quality, but got really dim.  So not like twilight at all, harsh shadows remained, but so dark.  Completely unique.  For a bit, you could not even tell that it was happening because it got darker without the usual changes that happen at sunset, but pretty quickly you could tell that your eyes were no longer straining and it was easier to see in a way you never get.  It wasn’t like clouds because the light was still direct.  Not like twilight because it was still thin atmosphere and overhead light.  It was awesome to get to experience it at mid-day like this on a cloudless day.  Truly, it could not have been more perfect.

Once the totality hit we were able to take off our glasses for several minutes and experience the full eclipse with naked eyes.  Seeing the corona was so totally intense and cool.  As crazy as driving twenty hours to do this was, it was completely worth it.  Such a unique thing.

After the eclipse we went back to Paul’s house.  We noticed that light filtering through the trees left eclipse shadows on the ground, sharp images of the half obscured sun.  Just amazing to see.

After the eclipse we went for a late lunch or early dinner and drinks across the street from Paul’s at a Mexican restaurant there.  The food was quite good.  This was Dominica’s birthday dinner.

It was a super fun day.  And very educational.

We celebrated Dominica’s birthday this evening at Paul’s with a cake.

Dominica’s Birthday Cake