I made my decision a few days before the solar eclipse.
As you know, on Monday August 21, the moon lined up perfectly between the Earth and the sun and the skies got dark in the middle of the afternoon.
I was happy when I heard that those of us in Asheville, North Carolina would experience a 99 % solar eclipse, beginning at 2:30 pm.
That sounded really good. I could stay home with Ray, have a little lunch, sit on the deck, put on some solar eclipse glasses, look up into the sky and enjoy.
I began to realize, however, that there was a big difference between 99% and 100%.
Here’s what Brian Hart of the Lookout Observatory at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, said:
“When it’s only 99 percent, think about the moon when it’s just a sliver in the sky…. It will be a similar-sized sliver of the sun, a tiny line of light you can see. That’s all.”
The total eclipse, he said, is like seeing a show on Broadway. A partial eclipse is seeing it off-Broadway.
Less than 30 miles away from us, in Brevard, North Carolina, or just 60 miles away in Greenville, SC, there was going to be 100% totality. Experts said that we would be awed by a dramatic switch from day to night, we would view stars popping out in the sky, we would experience a big drop in temperature and we would see the full corona of the sun.
We were tempted … but ultimately made the decision not to join the thousands of people predicted to be on the roads.
Relatives in Charleston, and friends who went to Brevard, Greenville and other towns in the 100% path reported how dark it got, how the street lights came on and how the temperature dropped. Only a few of them were disappointed by clouds.
We were a little jealous… but not much. We invited some friends to join us on our deck for champagne and a shrimp and charcuterie lunch. We had a clear view of the sun and watched as it got darker, cooler and quieter in the mountains. And, although we couldn’t see any stars, we did see some lights on a distant mountain.
99% may not have been the ultimate experience … but it was still amazing.
And we didn’t have to drive home!