After seeing the eclipse of 1999 we wanted to experience an eclipse again. The 1999 eclipse crossed the whole European continent, from England to Rumania. Likewise the 2017 eclipse was going to cross the whole United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. It was called the Great America Eclipse. So after the Great European Eclipse of 1999 we were going to see one on another continent. The totality line was going to cross the whole width of the US. It was projected to pass through Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone. This was going to be one of the best locations to see it.
Of course the whole country was looking forward to this eclipse since it was going to be the first eclipse visible in the US in a long time. Hotels around the totality line were fully booked quickly, at special prices of course. More than a year in advance of the eclipse we had booked a cabin n Yellowstone. The plan was to drive south to Grand Teton on totality day.
A few days before the eclipse we flew into Salt Lake City and drove from there to Yellowstone through Idaho. Next to the road there were warning signs cautioning for the expected heavy traffic on eclipse day. On the day of the eclipse we drove south at five thirty in the morning in a long line of cars from Yellowstone to Grand Teton. Clearly we were not the only ones using Yellowstone as a base camp. Thankfully the line kept moving. In Grand Teton there were a number of designated viewing areas. Outside these areas you weren even allowed to park your car next to the road during the eclipse. One of the viewing areas was at Jackson Lake Lodge, a beautiful hotel with a great view of the Teton mountain range. Next to the hotel a hill provided a panoramic view of the area, a perfect spot.
It might have been crowded by local standards, but there was more than enough room on the hill among the other spectators. Some of them had brought impressive telescopes. We found a nice spot and waited. Slowly the Moon moved in front of the Sun, the light changed and became silvery, shadows became sharper.
At ten thirty the Moon was exactly in front of the Sun. Immediately the corona seemed to flare up, now the brightest thing in the sky. Next to the eclipsed Sun the planets Venus, Mars and Jupiter were shining brightly. Mercury must have been there too, but i didn notice it. When the Sun is eclipsed you can suddenly see into space while the horizon looks like it is twilight. You can actually see that a few tens of kilometers away it is still day.
After 1 minute 50 seconds it was over. It had lasted a little longer south on the totality line, but the spot could not have been better.
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The map of our eclipse trip. The straight lines are the edges of the totality zone. The middle line is the line of maximum totality. We watched it just north of that line.
On youtube there's a brief i made of the whole eclipse as seen from Jackson Lake Lodge.Geotag (location) for: