I first wrote about this in April 2008, and again in June 2012, and again in June 2015. My excitement increased each time I spoke of it, so you’d think I would be dancing on the ceiling, but I’m not.
It’s the great Total Solar Eclipse of 2017!
But it’s been in the media so much lately that it is no longer my little secret. It all started over 10 years ago when my brother Dale said that he really wanted to be able to see it. We made plans and talked about it for years. And now, it’s almost here.
It’s coming to the Ohio Valley on Monday, August 21, 2017 at about 2:30 PM (EDT). If you live in Columbus Indiana and want to see it, the closest place is probably Bowling Green, KY or perhaps Hopkinsville, KY, which is about 80 miles or 1 hour 15 minutes south of Evansville. In Hopkinsville the eclipse will begin totality at 1:24:39 CDT and last for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. If you want to want to see it, there are a couple of ways to get there, but the fastest and easiest is probably to go south on I65 to Elizabethtown, KY, then head west on the Western Kentucky Parkway (aka: US 62 which also has a few convenient toll booths to assist you on your journey) and follow that to Hopkinsville. Here is a map. If you don’t want to go to Bowling Green or Hopkinsville, there are lots of other places with front row seats, including Nashville, TN but the closest place to Columbus Indiana is Hopkinsville or perhaps Bowling Green.
There are several videos on YouTube that give a lot more details:
This is one of my favorites
If you have your heart set on seeing the eclipse first-hand, it’s going to be a long day. It takes about 3 1/2 hours to get to Hopkinsville, or 3 hours to get to Bowling Green Kentucky, assuming there’s not much traffic on I-65 (but my guess is that I-65 will be a parking lot from Louisville to Nashville). And then there’s always the possibility of rain… What if it’s raining at 1:30 PM (CDT) or even cloudy? If a 3-plus hour drive isn’t your idea of a good time, or you are unwilling to bet a day of your life on the weather, you could take one of those airline junkets promising to keep you in the totality for several minutes with a spectacular view regardless of the weather. The only drawback to the airline deal, they are only departing from Portland, Seattle and Denver.
And then there’s always the hotel problem. I tried to make reservations 2 years ago and 1 year ago, and I tried again at Christmastime. They all said they weren’t making reservations until January 2017. So I tried again in January 2017 and the rooms were almost sold out, and the ones remaining were well over $500 a night. The reputable hotels were over $1,000 a night. OK, I guess Ill be dozing off in my car.
In fact, after 10 years of planning it looks like I’m not going to be able to get off work to attend. And my brother will never get a chance to see the eclipse, he passed away in October of 2015. But there are alternatives….
Coming on April 8, 2024 there will be another total eclipse in the US, and I can watch it from my own back yard!
A total eclipse right here in Columbus Indiana! And for those lucky people in parts of the US (Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky), the path of this eclipse crosses the path of the prior total solar eclipse in 2017. Meaning that the people of Cape Girardeau, Carbondale and Paducah will experience two total solar eclipses within a span of seven years. Not bad considering most of the people in the United States have never had a chance to view one. My dilemma: Try not to die within the next 7 years, or go to Kentucky next month. I guess I’d better try to figure out how to get off work next month.
The Great American Eclipse of 2017
The eclipse came and went. Very quickly in Columbus Indiana, where we had a 92.6% eclipse. When it became noticeably darker (about 2:15 PM EDT), everyone came outside to see what they could see, which wasn’t much considering we had no eclipse glasses. But necessity is the mother of invention, as they say and I found that by putting on 4 pairs of good sunglasses, I could view the sun and it didn’t seem to burn my retinas out or inflict noticeable brain damage. We had periods of clouds and sunshine but there plenty of opportunities to check it out. By 2:27 we were at the darkest point of the eclipse and by 2:45 it was pretty much back to normal. I must say that it was worth the wait, but there was an air of sadness as I was constantly thinking about my brother Dale, who was the first person to mention to me that there would be a total eclipse in the USA in 2017 and for many years we talked about. He really wanted to see it, but unfortunately he passed away in the fall of 2015. After our eclipse was over I went inside and watched the network coverage and I must admit that they did a fabulous job… especially ABC… and WISH-TV in Indianapolis had a continuous stream online and the coverage from their stream was excellent! While I was watching coverage on TV, I was also in contact with niece (Aimee) in Greenville South Carolina, which was also in the path of totality and she was also sending me fantastic pix of the event. It was almost impossible for me to get away to see it in Hopkinsville Kentucky, butbetween watching a 92.