The 2017 Eclipse: from the Perspective of a Nerd from Bowling Green, KY

I hope you all don’t mind a little sentimentality, but the total solar eclipse was a truly awe-inspiring moment.

At the moment of totality, I was in a restaurant parking lot with my Mom next to me. I was standing in my truck bed, listening intently to the local NPR station broadcast from Western Kentucky University’s south lawn and one of their staff members from Hopkinsville. I watched through the little solar eclipse viewers, a simple card I held to my eyes. When the totality was complete, I removed the card from my face. I stood straight up in my truck bed. My heart beated a little faster. An “Oh my God” escaped from the bottom of my soul. I looked at the darkened sky to see at least two celestial bodies, and eagerly observed the automatic street lights flicking on before returning my gaze to the sun’s corona, which appeared as a silver ring of light. The little crowd behind me in the restaurant parking lot looked on the same reverence. After it was over, I called my dad and talked to him like I was an excited boy who will never see such a sight again.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - ISS Transit
The International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, Washington. Onboard as part of Expedition 52 are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

This brief moment will be a common memory between me and hundreds of thousands of strangers in the United States, and those who came before, and hopefully those who will come after. An image of a broadcast of one solar eclipses that fell upon on the United States from 1978 made the rounds on Facebook, in which the host wished that the shadow of the moon would fall on a world at peace on August 21st, 2017. It is unfortunate to say that wish made upon Earth’s only natural satellite and the star which she revolves around did not come true. But it is my hope that, maybe one day, if we work hard enough for it, the human species will be at peace when the moon’s shadow falls upon us once again and we look to the heavens for just a moment, to remind us that there is beauty in the universe.

NASA Eclipse 2017 images (1)
An image of the moon’s shadow – the umbra – on the Earth as seen from the International Space Station.


To see more images of the North American 2017 Solar Eclipse, please visit NASA’s official page. It’s where I got those really cool images for this blog post.

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