Tuesday, May 6, 2014


April 15, 2014...

The forecast was not good.  We were having a total lunar eclipse and there were clouds everywhere!  In fact, 200 miles in all directions from Cincinnati, there were clouds clouds and more clouds.  Columbus - cloudy.  Louisville and Lexington - cloudy.  Indianapolis - cloudy.  Pittsburgh - cloudy.  Nashville - cloudy.

I was about to give up when I expanded my search and tried St. Louis - clear.  Clear? Really!

So I threw my telescope, camera, lawn chair and warm clothes into the car and headed West.  Since the eclipse was happening from 2-5:30am I didn't want to drive too far (I had to work later that day).  I settled on Effingham, Illinois, a 250 mile drive, as the closest place that I could maybe see the eclipse.  The chase was on!

I wanted a few hours of sleep so I got a hotel room and had a nap.  I woke up with the hope that I would not have to drive any further west but it was still cloudy.  I went back inside, frustrated, and slept another 30 minutes.  Then I packed up everything, fully expecting to have to drive more, and went outside.  Much to my surprise and utter joy, there was the Moon already in eclipse!  The clouds had lifted just in time and when I saw the eclipse I just gasped.  I've seen a lot of eclipses but the first sight of one always takes my breath away.

I set up the telescope in the nearby Cracker Barrel parking lot and began taking pictures.  The Moon's color shifted every few minutes.  It started gray, then got rosier, and finally turned a ruby red when in totality.  It was breathtaking!

I stayed out until the eclipse was almost over, but it was so cold and windy for an April 15.  I went back into my hotel room and got a few more hours of sleep, woke up, ate breakfast, and made it back to Cincinnati in time to go to work.

I'm always happy to complete a successful eclipse chase.  But hopefully I won't have to drive anywhere to see the next one on October 8, 2014.  Here's some pics: