Solar Eclipse

10 August 1999

hello everyone! to follow is the story of our solar eclipse experience...

wednesday began kind of sunny but by the time we were ready to head out to a place to watch the eclipse it was quite overcast. we were trying to remain optimistic about being able to actually see the eclipse and trying to keep ourselves from too much disappointment if we didn't actually get to see it.

we drove out some km from munich to a small village with a hill looking westward so we could hopefully see the shadow of totality heading our way at the appropriate time. there was a great view from the hill of some of the bavarian countryside. we were standing on the edge of a wheat field looking out over other fields, with a small village in the distance about 8km away. as we arrived there was quite a rainstorm due west and heading our way.

this storm hit us just as first contact of the moon's disk with that of the sun. not a positive beginning. we were drenched. it never rains like this in seattle. we could see sun on the fields to the north and began wishing we were somewhere else. but we stuck to it.

it passed over and we could see a patch of sunlight coming our direction. it finally got to us and we saw the bite taken out of the sun. it was quite stunning. this hole didn't last long, but the clouds were lighter and we would get peaks at the sun as the eclipse progressed. this was more exciting we decided than if we had a full view at all times!

we were still worried about being able to see the sun at the right time though. we looked to the western sky and saw a good sized hole in the clouds. we were optimistic about it coming our way at the right time. off to the southwest there was a major rain storm. we kept our eyes on that too.

soon enough of the sun was covered that the quality of light was significantly different from usual. it was golden but very dim. it was quite eerie. we were getting very close to totality. the storm clouds were heading a different direction and the last cloud before the clear patch had just about reached the sun. the timing was perfect. it couldn't have been better!

we got to see the darkness approach us. the village darkened and lights went on. flashes from cameras went off in the the west. then it hit us. it was odd. i expected it to be darker. it was like sunset. there were sunset colors around many of the clouds. it was so cool being able to stare right at the sun and just see the corona. it was breathtaking. i had the shivers. i don't think it was from the obvious drop in temperature either. i didn't want to take my eyes away from the sky. it was truly amazing.

then a bit of the sun peeked out from the darkness. and we could see a bit of the light approaching from the west. it was awesome. the rest was a little anticlimactic. we watched the sun some more. it was still exciting. we had to tear mark away so we could go eat.

on our way to the village guesthouse to eat it began to rain. it dumped rain again just as last contact ended. we felt very blessed. the timing, the place, everything was perfect. then we ate some traditional bavarian food (without meat!?!) and drove toward bonn until midnight.

in munich it rained. on the hillside just east of us it rained. we had our own little break in the clouds. we feel more than fortunate.

mark and i are now in bonn, enjoying some relaxation time. we will head off to england next week!

© Copyright Cheryln Crowl 1999



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