George KD0NME, the club astronomer writes, “JoDee and I started for Casper, WY, but the Wx forecast changed and we decided on the centerline north of North Platte. We had thin clouds at 1st contact but they slowly dissipated before 2d contact and allowed us full visibility of the outer solar corona in our scopes.”
JoDee and I started for Casper, WY, but the Wx forecast changed and we decided on the centerline north of North Platte. Turns out there was a rancher dead on centerline letting people use his hayfield for just $20 and in we went. It was just north of Stapleton. 45 degrees 25′ 57″ N, 100 degrees 30′ 10″ W, 3040′ ASL.
Maybe 100-150 vehicles in the field, farmer running around on a 4-runner hawking cold drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. He had porta potties and water tanks scattered around for us. The county rescue squad was on scene (?). Wasn’t needed.
Police of some kind directed traffic from the paved state highway, still there was a huge traffic jam after the eclipse, taking us an hour and a half to get back to North Platte, 30 miles distant. Seems several other ranchers did the same thing nearby. Large tour busses were everywhere. Singing, frisbees, kids running, music playing, all lent a carnival atmosphere.
We had thin clouds at 1st contact but they slowly dissipated before 2d contact and allowed us full visibility of the outer solar corona in our scopes. There was one flare that was huge, wide, high and actually seemed to move during the 2 minutes 33 seconds of darkness.
JoDee and I each had identical scopes and fully enjoyed the view during totality. We did not spend time with planets but Venus was obvious.
The midday sun became too much for me so I donned a dish towel scarf in defense. Some of my meds exaggerate my response to bright sunlight. I even sprouted an umbrella (Latin-“little shadow”).
After 3d contact there was all round screaming and noise making, then the inevitable let down. It was mostly over but we had met with complete success despite a blown tire on the interstate (JoDee did a great job of bringing us to a safe stop) and rapidly changing weather.
We are home now and shall soon follow Fuzzy’s lead.
It was a long 2 days.
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