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WVAS SOLAR ECLIPSE TRIP TO PRINCETON, KY
After lunch on Sunday, Aug. 20, Ben and Dom Angelo, Lisa and Deedee Wieland, and George and Marlaya Wyncott convoyed from the West Lafayette Observatory to Evansville, IN. Marilyn, Leah, and Ahmed Sameh also drove to Evansville after overnighting in Champaign, IL, on their way from Milwaukee. After checking into our hotels, we all had dinner together at a popular pizza place. The next morning the weather forecast still looked iffy for our planned observing location of Princeton, KY.
Screen shot of the hourly weather forecast for Princeton, KY, the day of the eclipse. The forecasted percentage of cloud cover for the eclipse period is circled.
Upon leaving Evansville the morning of the eclipse, we immediately encountered a traffic backup as southbound travelers funneled across the Ohio River bridge. A shorter backup occurred near Madisonville, KY, as US 41 and I-69 merged. Traffic slowed smoothly the rest of the way to the Princeton Walmart. Joining us there were John Mahony and Alan and Karen East.
The Sameh family stakes out a shady spot.
WVAS had permission to observe from a grassy area in front of the Walmart parking lot. We were surprised at how many other people also chose this observing spot, probably without advance permission.
And then totality happened. VERY COOL! After totality, most of the "fair weather" observers left, leaving the true astronomers.
The true astronomers stay and observe until the eclipse ended at 4th contact.
Traffic jam as I-24 and I-69 merged.
Once out of the first traffic jam, we travelled at highway speeds until a couple of miles before the Henderson, KY, city limit. Then the *real* traffic jam was encountered as all the traffic creeped toward the Ohio River bridge. By now it was night with heavy rain just to add to the ambiance. Once across the river we made it back to Evansville. The normal 1.5 hour drive between Princeton and Evansville took over 5 hours. NO police traffic management was observed at any point through the traffic jams! Ben, Dom, Alan, Karen, and (presumably) John drove all the way back home that night while the rest of us stayed in E'ville. The next day we returned home.
Relaxing with an appropriate beverage after getting back from the eclipse trip.
Even with the traffic jams, we'd do it again. Totality is spectacular!
John and George set up telescopes.photos/Eclipse2017_3.JPG
John and George set up telescopes.
More people joined us in the same grassy area.photos/Eclipse2017_7.JPG
More people joined us in the same grassy area.
Ben, Dom, Lisa, and Deedee set up.photos/Eclipse2017_12.jpg
Ben, Dom, Lisa, and Deedee set up.
Ben shows Dom how he aims the telescope.photos/Eclipse2017_18.jpg
Ben shows Dom how he aims the telescope.
Deedee Wieland relaxes and watches the show.photos/Eclipse2017_19.jpg
Deedee Wieland relaxes and watches the show.
Lisa models headwear appropriate for the blazing sun.photos/Eclipse2017_20.jpg
Lisa models headwear appropriate for the blazing sun.
Leah's chair is covered with crescent images as sunlight filters through the tree.photos/Eclipse2017_24.jpg
Leah's chair is covered with crescent images as sunlight filters through the tree.
We, and the other observers, get ready for totality.photos/Eclipse2017_30.JPG
We, and the other observers, get ready for totality.
Sky conditions just prior to totality. High, thin cirrus clouds but nothing to significantly interfere with observing.photos/Eclipse2017_34.JPG
Sky conditions just prior to totality. High, thin cirrus clouds but nothing to significantly interfere with observing.
A white sheet was placed on the ground to make shadow bands more visible. Lisa saw the extremely faint bands just before the first diamond ring.photos/Eclipse2017_36.JPG
A white sheet was placed on the ground to make shadow bands more visible. Lisa saw the extremely faint bands just before the first diamond ring.
After equipment got packed up, we had a seafood lunch nearby and then departed Princeton around 4:00 p.m. CDT. Traffic flowed smoothly at first but then we ran into the first world-class traffic jam when northbound traffic on US-41 from Hopkinsville merged with I-69. It was 12 miles long.