If you are a Pink Floyd fan like I am, you will recognize that those words in the title are the final lines of the final song, “Eclipse”, in the legendary Pink Floyd album, The Dark Side of the Moon. I felt this was appropriate, given this post is about my eclipse experience.
Unfortunately, my area of Florida was not in the path of totality, so we were only going to get about 85% coverage of the Sun at the maximum point of the eclipse. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get a good view of the eclipse in maximum phase because Mother Nature had her own plans. However, I was still able to get some photos to illustrate the eclipse’s effects on us here. On the bright side, I did get a little view of the final stages through my pinhole viewer.
Ah, the pinhole viewer. I wasn’t able to find eclipse glasses, so I made a a pinhole viewer instead.
I used a cereal box, some white paper to cover the bottom of the box, some aluminum foil, tape, and a knitting needle to poke the 3 mm pinhole. It only took me about 20 minutes to put together on Sunday. It worked like a charm, even in light to medium cloud cover.
Fast forward to about 1:20 PM Eastern Time. This was the view out of my bedroom window:
Yeah, my window’s a bit dirty.
Here is the view from the same window at 2:00 and again at 2:30.
To get an idea as to how much the eclipse and the cloud cover affected the ambient light inside, here are side by side pictures of the same corner of my room, one with the blinds open, the other with the blinds closed.
Normally, at this particular time of day in the summer, the rooms on this side of the house (the western side, which faces our front yard) are quite bright with sunlight unless thick cumulonimbus storm clouds have come into the area. While the clouds here were a little thicker than normal, the color of the clouds shows that they were far from cumulonimbus (which are a very dark gray on the bottom when approaching). Here is what I ended up seeing in the sky around the time of maximum eclipse:
Gray. Gray and cloudy. So, unfortunately, I was not able to see the maximum point of the eclipse where I was, inland. However, I hear that the weather was a little better at the coastline and even in Orlando. So, this ended up being my view of the actual eclipse as it appeared in Florida:
But, just because I wasn’t able to actually see the eclipse doesn’t mean I missed out on experiencing it. We still saw some noticeable effects from the eclipse, even with the cloud cover. For one, we did notice a notable dimming of the sunlight, and as I mentioned, it got about as dark indoors (with no artificial light, we had just the blinds open the entire time) as it normally does when a thunderstorm comes through here, even though the cloud cover wasn’t as heavy and as dark of a gray color as it has when a thunderstorm is approaching. I probably would’ve had okay visibility with the pinhole viewer if the clouds weren’t opaque, but unfortunately, Mother Nature decided otherwise. Another noticeable effect we experienced during the maximum stages of the eclipse was the drop in temperature. This time of year, even in thunderstorm conditions, it is normally quite hot and humid in the afternoon hours, if not in the upper 80s Fahrenheit, then at least in the low 90s. This time of year, the humidity is enough to break me out into a sweat within 30 seconds to a minute of stepping outside. When my mom and I stepped outside during the maximum eclipse period, I immediately noticed a difference in temperature. It felt like it was in the upper 70s or low 80s at this point. I was not sweating, either. In fact, it felt quite nice, despite the slight shower that had just popped up (only enough for rain droplets to show up on the cars in our front yard).
Alas, within an hour, it was already heating back up. The clouds took so long to clear out that I really only got to use my pinhole viewer for the very end of the eclipse. Had it been a couple of hours earlier or a couple of hours later, ironically enough, we would’ve had pretty good skies to view it. Funny how nature likes to mess with us in the weirdest moments.
Here is another side by side picture of the view outside, with an image of the eclipse as seen in Orlando at maximum:
For those of you who actually got to see the total eclipse in person, kudos to you! The shots I saw of totality during the CBS coverage of the eclipse were quite stunning, and it is definitely a dream of mine to be able to see a total eclipse in person during my lifetime. Perhaps I’ll find a way to travel to the path of totality when the next solar eclipse comes around in seven years’ time, in 2024.
Before I go, I’d like to leave you with the song that inspired the title of this post, or should I say songs? The Dark Side of the Moon is one of my favorite albums of all time, and although a lot of people have been playing or downloading Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for this event, I found both “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” from this album playing in my head.
(“You’re So Vain” was also an earworm at one point, too. “Walking On the Moon”, strangely enough, was not.)