Islander's eclipse experience

ISLANDER Kirk Truscott has just returned from the US where he took in the total solar eclipse. Here the 39-year-old IT business analyst from St John – a keen photographer – details the experience of watching such an awe-inspiring phenomenon.

One of Mr Truscott's images
One of Mr Truscott's images

'IT was a clear blue sky day. Temperatures leading up to that day were in the high 20s, low 30s and that day was no exception.

I was staying on the Lone Tree Ranch, a few miles outside Glendo, Wyoming, right under the path of totality, which took place at 11.44 am.

First contact was about 10.22 am where the moon slowly covers the sun. During this phase, not a lot of chances until about ten minutes before totality.

At this point, the light starts to head to a twilight-type flat light but even in all directions. The wind was breezy that morning. At this point the wind stopped and the air was still. The temperature dropped about 10-11 degrees.

The animals on the cattle ranch I was staying on all stopped and packed into large groups as if they were preparing for night. We could even hear the coyotes off in the distance howling, which added to the suspense.

The last 30 seconds before totality, the sky goes to a point of near darkness as the last of the sun is covered by the moon. Then the diamond ring effect kicks in as the light from the sun peers through craters on the moon and then finally this effect finishes and then the corona starts to shine brightly around the moon. Where you would see the sun you are now looking at a jet black circle surrounded by a bright white Corona with multiple colours of reds and pinks glistening in the sky.

This effect went on for two minutes and 26 seconds where I was, all the people around me watching went silent while appreciating the sight, which was simply awesome. Then the second diamond ring effect takes place before the sun starts to appear once more.

Light quickly returned to the sky. However, the temperature took a good hour to return and the wind a few hours to pick up again.

The crowd of about 30 people where I was all started to get excited and talk about what they saw. I carried on photographing while the moon travelled away from the sun.

Most people left at that time in an attempt to avoid the highway travel. However, as the world knows, the traffic that day was chaos. I heard reports from the group that it usually takes about 3.5 hours to drive to Denver. However, times up to 12 hours were being reported, so I stayed another night before heading north the next day to continue my road trip.

For me, the time, expense and effort to witness this event was worth it in every way. It was simply an experience I will never forget and hope I get the chance to witness another solar eclipse at some point in my life and would certainly recommend anyone out there thinking about travelling to see one to do so.'

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