Total Solar Eclipse – August 21, 2017

We were the recipient of a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 and Nashville was almost perfectly positioned to view it.  We have had people coming into this area from all over the country to view the event, and most of them should have gotten a pretty decent view.  I say “Most” because there was some cloud cover and from where I was in Brentwood the eclipse occured during a hole in the clouds.  I don’t know if the rest of the area was that lucky but we got a fabulous view of it.

The eclipse started at 11:58am with the moon just barely taking a piece out of the upper right portion of the sun.  It progressively covered more and more of the sun until “Totality” occured at about 1:28.  Totality lasted for about 2 or 3 minutes and then the moon began to clear the sun again.

The light during the event was … Surreal is about the only word I can think of to describe it.  I expected normal twilight but that isn’t what happened.  As I mentioned to my boss it was more like the light just before or after a severe storm; dim, muted colors and just an odd feel to the light.

So here are a few photos of the even starting just before the moon totally eclipsed the sun.  All but the first were shot with a Nikon D7100 and a Sigma 150mm-500mm lens at 500mm focal length mounted on a tripod.  I didn’t have any filters large enough for that lens so I had to wait until the sun was completely covered by the moon before I started shooting.  Even then I had to squint my eyes, move the camera to a position where the sun was in the viewfinder, close my eyes and trigger a few shots.  It was still pretty bright ;)

13:25:25 — Not a lot to see here, the sun looks more like a new moon.  The moon was coming in from the top right, about the 2:00 position and crossed the sun diagonally toward the 8:00 position.
13:27:42 — Almost there.  The bright spots at the bottom are all that’s left of the sun except for the corona around the edges.
13:28:00 — Closer still.  Look along the right edge and take note of the red fire that is visible.  Those are solar flares that typically extend thousands of miles out into space.  A quick-and-dirty scaling of the photo on my screen estimates that those extend roughly 30,000 miles into space.
13:28:40 — As close as we got to “Totality”.  The solar flares along the edge of the sun are clearly visible in this shot.
13:29:00 — Starting to come out of it now.  The bright spot is the sun starting to work its way out of the eclipse.
13:29:17 — And this was as far as I was going.  Even this little bit of sun hurt my uncovered my eyes and I wasn’t going to push my luck.