Total Solar Eclipse 2024

Oh, the drama. 

A good 24 hours after the 2024 total solar eclipse, it’s safe to say the world didn’t end. 25 hours ago, however, that possibility was still very vivid for some. While I did not directly turn my attention to the doomsday “Christian influencers,” word of their convoluted end-times conspiracies reached my ears a number of times in the last week. 

Having survived the total eclipse of 2017, I was confident that such prognostications would continue their unbroken streak of erroneousness. But that’s not to say the six-plus years waiting for yesterday’s eclipse was anxiety-free for me. 

For the last one, my family made a big vacation out of the occasion. We rented a house in the Black Hills for several days beforehand, and had a fabulous time. The initial plan was to drop down into northwest Nebraska the morning of the eclipse. The forecast, however, caused us to scramble for a Plan B. 

Lusk, Wyoming turned out to be a perfect destination and we enjoyed crystal-clear viewing. It seems we became instant “umbraphiles”—especially my mom. As soon as it was over, plans to attend the next total eclipse began to take shape. 

Seven-year Indigestion

The date (in April) and the destination (the eastern U.S.) gave me cause for concern. Compared to Wyoming in August, the potential for clouds seemed infinitely greater. Still, we set our sights on Vincennes, Indiana for April 8, 2024. 

Eyes glued to extended forecasts almost two weeks before the big day, we watched eagerly for positive signs. The family text chain began to light up again. As weather patterns became more clear, things didn’t look good.

Once gathered together in Louisville, we consulted “cloud cover forecasts” somewhat obsessively. Conditions changed almost hour by hour, but never tilted much toward total sun or total clouds. We decided that, since the forecast didn’t indicate better odds anywhere along the path of totality (that we could reasonably reach by car), we’d stick to Plan A. 

Seven Good Hours

In the end, the drama was all for naught. Vincennes rolled out the red carpet for visitors, making the first couple hours there enjoyable for the whole family (we arrived extra early out of caution). They really did an excellent job. We then retreated to the backyard of a family friend on the outskirts of town for the big event, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch under a high, thin veil of clouds. 

Through eclipse glasses, those clouds were inconsequential. Through my camera lens, the corona appeared slightly fuzzy, but was very much visible. 

In a word, it was worthwhile. It lacked the shimmering excitement I felt at my first eclipse, but was nevertheless thrilling.

Our kids are already talking about the next total eclipse, in 2044. As far as I’m concerned, they’ll be old enough by then to take on the planning and logistics, and we adults will just come along for the ride. And I told them in those words, more or less. 

Because I can’t take the drama.


2 thoughts on “Total Solar Eclipse 2024”

  1. Glad you got to enjoy it, we were maybe 20 miles down the road in South Washington and the high clouds were no problem. I do astrophotography as my main hobby and I managed to not take a single picture during this one 🙂

    And thanks for the posts about camping–so much good information in them. Some of us imagers come to camping as a way to find dark night sky, and the search for someplace where you can set up on a few hours notice is never-ending. As you noted, cloud cover forecasts change often, making reservation-based campgrounds difficult to use.

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