From Kevin Clark
My wife and I were in Cabo San
Lucas for the total solar eclipse on July 11,1991. It was to be my first
eclipse, my interest in general astronomy and eclipses didn’t peak until AFTER
the total solar eclipse of 1979, where a short trip up to the Pacific Northwest would have
been an easy task. In fact, I didn’t even know about the eclipse until I
walked out of my house in Palm
Springs, CA and noticed
how it was a bit dim outside for a cloudless sunny day. Turns out the sun
was about 60+% eclipsed from where I stood.
upon the southern tip of Baja with what we felt was the rest of the world, the
crowded conditions at the small airport was intense.
day we set up camp on the beach in Cabo del San Jose, probably 10 or so miles
from the center line, but we didn’t need to be right on the bulls eye, where we
stood was just fine, and quite a few others thought the same as the beach got
more and more crowded. A cheer went up with first contact, however there
wasn’t any noticeable change in our surroundings, but the anticipation just grew
from there. The process of the surroundings darkening and changes
taking place was very slow and was almost imperceptible. Fast forward to
just a minute or so before totality and things sped up quite a bit. We
started to see mini-eclipses in the shadows under the palm trees, and I was
looking westward hoping to see the shadow hurtling toward us. The “sunset”
dimming became more and more evident, and that’s when I noticed the animals and
birds beginning to flip out. Bird were flying everywhere, and there were
many bird calls. Beach rodents were seen darting into bushes. Since
this was my first eclipse, everything was brand new to me and I didn’t know what
exactly to expect. Unfortunately, I never saw a “shadow wall” racing
toward me, and after hearing someone shout “diamond ring!” I glanced up and saw
the phenomenon, then a split-second of Bailey’s beads. And then, suddenly,
totality began. It was incredible. No matter how much you prepare
yourself to see something truly awesome, it was much more than that.
There was a
dim (not quite black) sky, similar to a late twilight, with a jet-black dot in
the sky, surrounding by a glowing radiance (the corona). What blew me away
is how the corona MOVED. You could see it flow in and out slightly, it was
alive. Then I saw the brilliant red prominences, probably 3 or 4 of them,
but one was very pronounced and you saw it easily with the naked eye. I
took my eyes off the eclipse briefly and saw Mercury and Venus and Jupiter, as
well as several bright stars. And it was
I was told
this was the 2nd longest eclipse of the century, we had almost 7
minutes of totality – and believe me, it rushed by like it was 2 minutes.
I could only imagine what primitive man thought when one of these things
suddenly popped up in their village, I could see why they would thing the gods
were angry or something!
just as quickly as it all began, it all ended……….suddenly the diamond ring
appeared on the other side, and it was over.
the trip for a couple of years, spent way too much on hotel and travel, all for
7 minutes – and it was worth every penny and time
21, 2017, you’ll find me somewhere in Kentucky for a repeat performance. For
anyone who has never personally witnessed one of these, you REALLY have to go,
it’s an incredible experience!