Here is a collection of pictures and comments from Science Teacher members of the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) who viewed the August 21st total solar eclipse from different locations across the United States of America. The State where the picture(s) was/were taken is abbreviated to be part of the picture name – so you could scroll down to the bottom of the picture to see that.
The caption below a picture starts the sequence of pictures from each teacher. Clicking on any picture will open it into a slide show where you can move forward or backward through the various pictures. From Ryan Westberry:Here’s a video I made after watching the totality in Wyoming at Green River Lakes just off the center line. I sent my drone up really high to capture the landscape while also filming our reactions on the surface- and set it all to music.
I did edit the language in the beginning of totality (overcome by that moment) but there are some “Oh S^*t” toward the end that need to be known if anyone plans on showing it. (I’m not promoting that.) I’m just wanting to share in the emotion (I was literally shaking and had tears of joy) and magnitude of watching the event and the love of the science. 🙂
Here is one of the 360ovideos I made while the school yard was filling up with families and the students.
If you are wondering what do with any eclipse glasses perhaps donate them to the Eclipse Glasses Donation Program – organized by Astronomers Without Borders.
Oregon: I’m a middle and high school science and engineering teacher. I launched a weather balloon out of Ontario, Oregon to record eclipse data.
One instrument was a camera modified for near infrared. NIR penetrates the atmosphere without being scattered like visible light. So my images show the moon’s shadow on the ground with clarity. In NIR, chlorophyll in plants shows up bright white in color. So farmland looks like a white checkerboard.
The pictures were taken around 45,000 feet and the well-lit clouds on the horizon could be 260 miles away.
Idaho: Thanks. We were up in Weiser, Idaho for totality with a bunch of science nerds. (Always travel with science nerds, it is so much more fun.) We were trying different things to get the effect and liked the combs the best. I wish I had done it later when the sun was more of a sliver, but there was so much to see I didn’t think of it.
There were 2 peregrine falcons behind us that were very upset with the crowd. They left before totality and didn’t come back until most of the crowds were gone. I only tried one shot, which wasn’t good knowing I should leave the totality to the experts.
Idaho – Peregrine Falcons
Missouri: Briarcliff Elementary School students.
Missouri: Waiting patiently for the start.
Missouri: Briarcliff students getting ready
Wyoming: Drove out with my sister to Grand Island, NE from Wisconsin. I was concerned about cloud cover in Nebraska, so we got up at 4am on the morning 21st to drive for clear skies further west. Ended up in Fort Laramie, WY with beautiful weather. I know that my pictures aren’t nearly as neat or crisp as others, but this was my experience with this rare event. Took the eclipse image through the lens of my solar scope, along with another shot with my sister.
On a side note, sure, the eclipse was pretty neat, but what affected me more was knowing that nearly everyone on the road during those couple days were there for the eclipse. It was this thought that made wading through traffic on the way back much easier for me. Being out it Wyoming, on the long windy and rolling hills, cars like ants crawling through the distance, I couldn’t help but think of myself as part of a convoy, similar to the Oregon Trail. Yet, instead of wagons, it was SUVs coming all the way from New York to Manitoba. I know I’m sounding a little poetic here, but this impacted me more than the eclipse itself.
Wyoming: I drove 6,000 miles in total, from CT to Wyoming to see the eclipse in Jackson Hole with another teacher friend who flew from CT (I also went to a number of parks and monuments… a wonderful trip in total). But the highlight was totality. My friend brought two solar telescopes with her and we were able to see the details of the entire eclipse, complete with sun spots. As it neared totality, the birds all started calling and flying madly, then settled down and became silent as though it were night. A cat came walking out in the street, clearly unnerved — its tail was all puffed up and it kept looking around as if very confused and worried. And it got quite chilly. Jackson is at about 8,000′ and I had to go get a jacket — I’d say the temperature dropped at least 25 degrees.
Altogether, stunning. So glad I made the trip.
Texas: South Texas only had a 50% version of the eclipse. We took a couple of Sunspotters out in front of our main office along with a handful of the glasses and some punched tag board.
Our sky cleared up only a few minutes before the maximum coverage–it rained briefly at the beginning of the eclipse event and you can see the clouds in one of the views attached.
While I really enjoyed seeing the eclipse through various viewers, what was really cool was our finance and other non-science staff who stopped by as they came back from lunch and looked at the image on the Sunspotters and took selfies or got us to take pictures of them with the images. Observing the staff go from nonchalant to kids again was great!
Texas: Much better images than mine, but we only had 61% where I am. I did especially enjoy the tree shadows.
South Carolina: We were on a boat in the middle of Charleston Harbor, anchored off of a small island that is a bird sanctuary. As soon as totality hit, all of the birds took off at once. It was very cloudy so it didn’t get as dark as we expected…reflection? We could see the “sunset” all around. I’m already making plans for 2024!
South Carolina: Thanks for starting this topic and for all the great images from people’s experiences! I drove to SC from NH to explore data collection in light intensity and temperature readings on land cover with small sensors that the teachers have been using on classroom phenomenon. We set up a cross the totality path with people willing to carry along the same sensors set at the same timing.
Weather was especially helpful, adding tension by sending in one fat cloud that the sun escaped just at the last minute before the total event! I use an old digital camera that posts the date and time on the image and the picture below verified how close we came to missing the “main event”. Total started at 2:41.
While these photos are not classic, thinking about evidence and alignment with data their importance to alignment with the data capture was essential. I felt connected to those watching but also to those who carried along the data loggers and shared the further project. Will take me some time to explore them and share with the teachers and sites in partial locations also using the same loggers.
Oregon: I was lucky to have a sister in Oregon who arranged for us to stay with friends in Sisters, Oregon, just at the edge of being able to see the totality. My spouse and adult daughter came with me, happily. Surprisingly the traffic was very light, and thanks to firefighters there was very little smoke in the air.
Plans were in place with glasses, colander, and champagne.
Using the glasses (thank you NASA) we saw the totality, less than 1 minute, noted the change in light, birds quieting and temperature dropping. Knowing that the “cosmic coincidence” of Sun and Moon sizes and distance from the Earth makes our planet the only one in our solar system that experiences a total solar eclipse and seeing it in a community of science-interested people made it even more special. (We also saw new-to-me birds: White-headed woodpeckers, Mountain chickadee, Pygmy nuthatch.)
On the NSTA Early Years blog, a preschool teacher posted about the preparation her class went through, their experience, and the follow-up questions they are investigating.
Oregon: Jordan Makower
New Jersey: We took the first picture the night before the eclipse over the Barnegat Bay in NJ. The second pic is from the beach with an iPhone in Lavallette, NJ
Nebraska: This was my first eclipse as well. We had about 2 1/2 minutes in the heart of Nebraska’s beautiful Sand Hills just north of where I live. I did not attempt to photograph it…I left that to professionals. I couldn’t, however, resist taking this panoramic image during totality and managed to catch my daughter’s silhouette. It was partly cloudy that day as you can tell in the photo, but our view of the eclipse was completely clear during totality. It was an amazing experience. Absolutely breathtaking and beautiful!
Missouri: My viewing location was with 350 elementary school kiddos, staff, and parents. We had 80 seconds of totality but clouds covered the sky during totality with a few breaks giving everyone a chance to cheer but not for long. Rain started a few minutes later so from where I was we saw the first half only.
My 4th total eclipse and still blown away.
Missouri: That’s the star Regulus in Leo the Lion to the left.
Louisiana: Taken in New Iberia, Louisiana by one of my students. We had a 73% eclipse. 🙂
Kentucky: It is also great for making projections on t-shirts. Family tradition since 1994.
Kentucky: I was in Hopkinsville, KY with the 2 minutes 40 seconds. This is my second total eclipse. I also have 2 annual too.
I projected the image from my old astroscan on a piece of foam core board. Great little telescope. The crowd got to see the sunspots.
Kentucky: I was in Dawson Springs, KY where totality was 2 minutes 32 seconds. This was my first total eclipse, and it was an amazing experience. Here are the photos. My two pictures of totality were not the best because I did not want to take the time to change the settings on my camera. One question: at the start and end of totality, I heard a sound similar to thunder or fireworks. Any idea what that was?
Kentucky: Great pictures from Hopkinsville, Kentukcy. The traffic was a nightmare from Hopkinsville to Cincinnati. Enjoy!
Missouri: I was about 30 miles east and few miles south of you. The clouds cleared just in time. It was beautiful.
One thing that really surprised me was how much light there was when the sun was almost totally eclipsed. Before totality, when there was just a small sliver of the sun visible, it was still pretty light. It was not until totality that is got “dark”.
I assumed it was going to gradually get darker and darker leading up to totality. It did not work that way.
Those of us that saw totality are likely making plans for the next one in the U.S. in 2024. Those that did not see totality really need to try to see it once. It is amazing and indescribable.
Illinois: We had teacher’s institute on Monday (students didn’t start til Wednesday).
I convinced our principal to do an activity in the afternoon and we went outside as a staff. We are 180 miles north of Carbondale and experienced 90% coverage. I had eclipse glasses and pinhole viewers available, along with a telescope with solar filter. I also equiped our staff with UV bead braclets to observe changes in UV exposure. We were also able to experience the eclipse shadows caused by the light filtering through the trees.
We had a blast and even got coverage in the local paper. The neatest part was seeing our staff really get into it. I’ll attach photos, but if you can’t get them they can also be viewed via our twitter account GRS_Science
My brother was in Nashville and got to experience totality. He sent me photos a co-worker of his took and I was able to share those with my classes on Wednesday. I also had a few students that were able experience it first hand.
My 3rd partial solar eclipse…never gets old!
Idaho: My daughter got a nice panorama of the 360° sunset. Photo by Kiana Duggan-Haas.
Idaho: I watched from a ridgetop just outside of Victor, Idaho with the Tetons in the background, at the Pine Creek Campground. Here’s a Google Street View Panorama of us and our site, taken before totality. I was with my two daughters (13 & 16) a couple of high school friends and their families, my cousin and her family, and another family who is friends with one of my high school buds and a few friends and family of these folks. Also on our ridgetop were another 15 or so people, including three planetary scientists from the USGS, a cinematographer and some others. Below are a few pics from our group.
Our temperature change was substantial, though we didn’t have thermometers. I’d guess there was a swing of 20° F. We were at something like 8,000 feet in elevation. Totality was chilly, but brief.
One thing that didn’t photograph well and I’ve not seen mentioned above are the shadow bands. They look something like the bands on the bottom of a pool on a sunny day and are caused by diffraction of the sun’s light when it’s just a sliver – immediately before and after totality. We’d laid down a white sheet to see them, and they were definitely there, I think wavering more quickly than the bands on the bottom of a pool. They were also pretty faint.
I’ll note that the difference between totality and 98% of totality is quite impressive. I heard someone compare the difference to the difference between going 98% of the way to Disneyland vs. actually going to Disneyland. I’m not a Disney guy, so my analogy is that it’s like comparing getting 98% of the way to a climax to actually getting to a climax (you know, of your favorite book or whatever).
The plans for this trip had been in the works since my first total solar eclipse viewed from the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula in 1991. More about that trip here (it’s my contribution to the My Earth Educator Story Project). One of the friends I saw that with was one of the high school friends who was with us this time – in fact, he was the lead organizer. I anxiously await my third eclipse when totality passes over my house on April 8, 2024. (Though April in Buffalo offers nothing like a guarantee of clear skies).
Idaho: I was at the base of Borah Pk, tallest mountain in Idaho near MacKay. We had an incredible total eclipse with clear skies. The temperature dropped 10 degrees, the birds were quiet and not flying. I was with a few friends but there was reported about 1000 people who started climbing Borah Peak around midnight! Attached are a few of my husband’s pictures.
Idaho: This is what it looked like, more or less, to my naked eye. Photo by Andy Frank.
Idaho: My first eclipse. We had a total of 2 minutes 2 seconds in Garden Valley Schools, Garden Valley, Idaho, Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. We also had Dr. Joe Llama from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff talking us through what we were about to see. This is the one and only picture I took. It was amazing.
Georgia: Here is the temperature data recorded at a high school about 20 minutes north of Athens, GA We were at 99.7% totality.
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