Saturday, October 14, 2023

October 14, 2023 Solar Eclipse

An annular eclipse graced our area on October 14, 2023. I first learned about it about a year and a half in advance, when an astronomy club from Illinois who had connections with one of my brothers reached out to me. That put it on the calendar. I thought some family was coming to visit, but plans continued changing until the last minute, when I decided to go up into the Mt. Moriah Wilderness with a couple dear friends. 

We started out at 5:15 am, which put us in a lovely spot for a magical sunrise!

Then we got to the trailhead, and to our great surprise, there was just one other vehicle there. We started hiking the two miles up to The Table.

Before we got to the top, the eclipse was starting, and we paused to put on our eclipse glasses and take a look. I managed a quick photo through my phone, with the eclipse glasses over the camera.

When we got up to the Table, it felt like we were little kids. We were giddy with excitement with all the magnificent trees, amazing clouds, and just general beauty and peace of the place.

The eclipse continued...

We ended up watching most of it from this iconic tree.

It was quite cold, but our hearts were warm as we celebrated this celestial event. 

The tree provided a nice back rest, and the clouds gradually moved out of the way.

We took a moment to enjoy the shadows on the bristlecone wood.

Trying to get a photo of the eclipse without the eclipse glasses didn't do much. The lighting looked very strange as more and more of the sun was blocked. It got colder. We heard chickadees sing right before the maximum eclipse, but it was really quite quiet up on the Table, so we didn't notice any big decrease in sound.

And then it happened! The Ring of Fire.
While it was happening, we saw two hunters hiking. Julie grabbed an extra pair of eclipse glasses and ran over to them, asking them if they had seen it. They hadn't, and were delighted to get a view.

After a few minutes, the moon continued down...

...and down (I was finally getting the hang of taking decent phone photos)...

...and down some more.

We started our gorgeous hike back...

...but paused again for another look. It was a wonderful experience, and we felt so lucky that the weather cooperated. 

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