The eclipse

What a thrill this was! Here is Panama was the best place in the world to view this particular solar eclipse last Friday,April 8. It was an “anular”eclipse,one where the moon is farther from the earth than in a total eclipse,so the shadow cast is a bit smaller,leaving a ring around the black circle instead of total coverage with just the sun’s corona behind. It started around 3:56 p.m. We’d found special glasses for viewing and all took turns staring at it. Clouds were coming and going the whole time,but we got enough views to see it progressing. About 15 minutes before the scheduled time for complete coverage and viewing of the ring,a huge bank of clouds came up over the sun,a bank that filled the sky. We shrugged and thought,“At least we saw most of it!”We packed up Kirsten and Danny’s stuff for camp and drove down to the church parking lot to drop them off. Just as we arrived in the parking lot,literally 3 minutes before the moment of total coverage,the clouds parted and the sun was in full view! We leaped from the car (after stopping the motor) and all stood in the parking lot and stared in awe,sharing the glasses up and down the row. Spectacular! As the shadow covered the sun completely,we saw about 3/4 a ring (at the angle here in Panama City we only had 99% coverage) glowing brightly around the black. All went very dim,the street lights came on and the birds,who’d been singing gaily for about an hour,came out even stronger. As quickly as it covered up,the shadow started across the other way,things brightened up again,and it started back toward looking like normal 5 p.m. Just as quickly,the clouds covered the sky again. They’d only cleared away long enough to show us the eclipse. Laura declared this as one of her favorite days ever!

Our friends Jim and Linda Morford reported very good viewing also from farther west in Panama. We hear that Miami was the best place in the US for viewing. We’re glad we could be here!

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