Chad’s Great American Eclipse Chase: Part 7—What’s it like to experience an eclipse?

This series details the eclipse-chasing exploits of our President and CEO, Chad Dorsey, as he heads down to Tennessee on a quest for the total solar eclipse. See the whole series.

Well, the big day is here—now we wait, trying nervously to eat breakfast, clear our jitters, and get our equipment ready. As the day begins and we ponder the moments to come, we think again about all the aspects of the experience from the onset of partial phases up to passing into and through totality. While I’ll hope before things cut loose to post a bit more to detail the many interesting phenomena we’ll be watching for, it’s worth looking back at an archival clip that still does a fairly good job of describing the whole experience.

Here’s an excerpt from the distinctly semi-professional video (it was great for 1991!) created by my father and myself to document the solar eclipse we experienced in Baja, Mexico. From the waning light during the partial phases to the phenomena of the diamond ring and Bailey’s Beads, this clip references many of the important aspects of the experience. It also captures just a bit of the wonder of the long moments of Baja totality as heard through the group’s many excited exclamations.

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