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The 2024 Solar Eclipse – In Pictures

On April 8th, 2024 – the world stopped. A once in a lifetime event befell the United States: a total solar eclipse sweeping from Texas to Maine captivated the nation, and drew millions to pause for a moment, staring up at the star that warms our world and the moon that comforts us on the darkest nights as they danced in a perfect orbital ballet. This is the story of those who witnessed this great cosmic moment, presented here with the images they captured.

Nick Boone:

After obsessing over the weather forecast and practicing solar imaging for weeks, a friend and I finally loaded up and hit the road for Mountain View, Arkansas. Getting to know the town a bit was really nice and added a lot to the experience. They were prepared for the influx of travelers and hosted an eclipse themed street festival on the day we arrived. There were people traveling from all over; we talked with folks from several states, and even a man from England. We booked a spot at a small drive-in theater to view the eclipse, which gave me ample space to set up all my photography gear. I ran 2 DSLR/Mirrorless setups, recorded video on my phone, a timelapse on my GoPro, and even took photos on my point and shoot 35mm film camera. No matter how many cameras you bring or how good they are, photos will never capture the full experience. It’s stunning, otherworldly, and so beautiful that it takes your breath away. I still struggle putting into words what it’s like, so here’s some of my imagery instead.

Nik Alexander:

While I was not in the path of totality, I got to experience elements of the eclipse through a unique lens – by meeting with and learning about the teams conducting research on our local star. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is an often overlooked part of the agency’s network of scientific facilities, but it represents a key element in the study of our home planet. On April 2nd, I made the trip to Wallops for a media day where I got to interview the APEP team, a dynamic group of students and NASA employees who spent their days with their heads buried in the guts of sounding rockets. Like many other civil servants, they were more than excited to discuss their research – spending hours untangling the mysteries of the eclipse and what they hoped to study during totality. The day of the eclipse, I could not help but think about these three rockets racing towards the ionosphere – named for a god that wanted to snuff out the sun, doing their best to learn what they could in such a limited time. What a dynamic experience, to say the least.

Scarlet Dominik:

Unable to travel at the time of the eclipse, I viewed a partial eclipse which reached 81% coverage from the comfort of my front lawn alongside my family. Viewing the eclipse with my enthusiastic little brother, we both partook in our own “science projects.” He along with my father took measurements of the changing temperature as the Moon’s penumbra passed over us, meanwhile I showed him how pinholes display the Sun’s shape, and create projections of a crescent during a partial eclipse. Even though we didn’t see totality, the sky was remarkably clear during the event, allowing me the best view I’ve ever had of a solar eclipse. It was a truly surreal event, made all the more special by sharing it.

Emily B:

After seeing the 2017 total eclipse with only glasses and binoculars, I resolved to capture the 2024 eclipse with a “real camera”. As the event approached, I was focused on getting the best shot and longest eclipse possible. In the end, this meant a choice between an extra 80 seconds of eclipse or sharing the experience with my family and friends. I realized that there will always be more eclipses, but any time spent with loved ones is special. The photos I took during the eclipse are some of my favorites I have ever produced, and the memories and emotions will stay with me for a long time yet. I remember gasping in amazement as the final seconds before the eclipse passed and all warmth and most color drained from the scene. The sun remained bright but everything looked as though we were under a streetlamp; cold white, bleached out, and haunting. Then, even that faded to reveal the glowing silhouette of the solar corona and to my amazement, a naked-eye visible prominence at the south pole. In between settings adjustments I stared up as the camera snapped away, and even though the pictures came out a little blurry, I don’t regret an ounce of it.

Beverly Casillas:

While my parents’ house near Austin, TX already lay within the path of totality, my dad and I drove further west in search of a longer total duration and clearer skies. At a remote hilltop cemetery a few miles north of Llano, we encountered a few other eclipse-chasers, most of whom were from out of state – hailing variously from California, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, and Florida. Though patchy clouds rolled in, breaks were frequent enough to let us watch as the sunlight gradually waned, casting the bluebonnets and cacti into an unnatural gloom. As the night descended, what surprised me most was just how dark it really was; the clouds we’d hoped to avoid created a haunting twilight scene that wrapped around the horizon. Thankfully, they parted just in time for us to see the ghostly corona shining high overhead, and my dad was able to capture stunning shots of the hole in the sky, including violet prominences along its limb. Finally, we were treated to a perfect view of the diamond ring as the sun re-emerged, sending golden light flooding back into the world.

Despite the hassle of traffic and the stress of uncooperative weather, I’m glad we made the journey together. The colorful Texas countryside and community of friendly travelers were a memorable experience all on their own, and the corona’s glow will stay with me until the next time the spheres align.

I’m more of a writer than a photographer, but here are some of my dad’s images!

Matt Dahle:

At a cabin in a small township in Arkansas, I showed our hosts some experiments such as colander pinhole cameras, shadow edges getting sharp/fuzzy depending on orientation in relation to the eclipse, and colors progressively getting less and less saturated as it got darker and darker. As it got down to a few minutes before the eclipse, I started to really prepare myself for photos. After triple checking focus, making sure the tripod was pointed in the right direction and stable, making sure my exposure settings made sense, the moon finally passed entirely in front of the sun.

It was eerie. The sky was black. We could see Jupiter and Venus. The sun had transformed from a searing brightness into a hollow circle, a husk. The crickets began chirping. The bats took to the sky. Around us was a 360 degree panoramic sunset. Everyone went from yelling and screaming in excitement to quiet and in awe. My brother described feelings of profound existentialism, almost a panic of realization of our tiny place in the universe. I, personally, have never felt such a vivid feeling of scale. It’s difficult to describe, and is something I’d recommend experiencing if you are ever presented with the opportunity.

And then, just like that, the diamond ring came back, and daylight returned. We were back to real life. We had to drive back to Tulsa for those who needed to work the preceding day, so we thought it best to get on the road. During the long drive back, it was awesome to spend time reflecting on what we’d just experienced!

Brandon Berkoff:

Uncertainty. Every moment, from the weeks leading up to the eclipse, down to the morning of was filled with uncertainty over whether or not we would have the opportunity to see the sun’s corona. We were hit with a curve ball at just about every turn in our journey, as if the forces of nature were doing everything in their power to stop us from making our plan work. From hours of traffic in Atlanta, to driving through rural Kentucky with little to no visibility. From tornadic hail storms on the day before the eclipse, to a game changing weather forecast just mere hours before we were set to make the trek into totality, the list goes on and on. Our journey was filled with even more chaos and frustration than I had anticipated, however these were the moments that brought the four of us together, and we walked away with memories that will last a lifetime. 

In the end, we made it to the banks of the Mississippi River in Thebes, Illinois in the early morning hours of April 8th, where we awaited the four minutes of totality that we had worked so hard to make it to. While the photos will never do it justice, I think it goes without saying that what the following hours brought was nothing short of life changing. It’s unfortunate that it will be another 20 years until the next total solar eclipse passes over the continental US, but that only makes me more grateful that the work we put in to make it to totality ultimately paid off.

Astrid Cordero:

JJ Carola:

When talking about plans for April 8, 2024, we often heard those embarking on their journey describe it as “going to see the eclipse”. I did as well, until I’d experienced totality myself on a tiny hill outside of Indianapolis. As with any celestial event, it involves a lot of patience and staring at the sky while nothing happens…until it does. From the moment of first contact until totality roughly an hour later, the afternoon sky and the world around us remained the same. Then the rules of our planet changed. As the sun and moon coalesced, as did their respective parts of Earth’s rotation. Night and day became one. A chill swept over the city as the temperature dropped, and the world became enveloped in a 360° panoramic sunset before plunging into an eerie, unnatural darkness. The sun’s outstretched corona and now-visible prominences put on an indescribable ethereal spectacle. The initial cheering of those around me during the onset of totality quickly fell into a silent state of awe, with the only sounds to piece the silence being the orchestra of confused crickets following their unexpected celestial conductors. In an instant, it was as if a curtain concealing the rest of our home solar system from us had been pulled back to reveal a sky full of stars and neighboring planets. A brief but profound reminder of the grand, incomprehensibly large universe in which we live.

You’ve seen the pictures and videos, likely many more than you’ve cared to. You probably even had a glimpse of the partial eclipse yourself with those goofy glasses. You know what it looks like, but there is nothing like experiencing totality. Time stops, and for a fleeting moment, all of the familiar sights and sounds around you become different. Like a trip to a world that isn’t our own. Everything seems familiar, yet alien. The natural world becomes unnatural, an unprocessable sensation that leaves you no choice but to surrender to the overwhelming awe in reverence to the universe. I hope you too can experience this one day. There’s nothing quite like it.

David Diebold:

For the second time in my life, I had the privilege to venture off into regions of the United States I’d never been before. Ventures for a specific purpose; to lay eyes upon the atmosphere of our own star. For the second time in my life, I was able to witness totality unimpeded; nary a cloud in the sky to obscure our view. Totality is a profound and incredible thing to experience. It’s an experience that you cannot describe, and only something you can truly appreciate once you see it for yourself.

In 2017 I took to the highways with my parents and traveled north from Louisiana to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where I met with one of my best friends who lived in the area. When the time came, my friend and I loaded in the car followed by my family behind us and headed south to the path of totality, eventually coming to our viewing site on the centerline in Madisonville, Tennessee. I didn’t know what to expect going into it, and looking back, regrettably I feel I spent too much time looking at my camera at the time to truly appreciate the experience. Getting to share it with my best friend though is something that still sticks, and always will stick with me.

Fast forward some 7 years later, I’m hopping in the car early morning on Friday, April 5th to hit the road for Orlando, Florida. I would arrive that night, and the next day I would load into a minivan with a ragtag group of friends, Sean, Brandon and Lavie, and we would hit the road, heading north for Martin, Tennessee, our basecamp. 

A 14 turned 20hr drive later, we arrived in the early morning hours of April 7th, checking in, unloading and collapsing for the night. Once awake, preparation and testing begins. A hailstorm and heavy storms captured our attention in the early evening, a rainbow following the maelstrom. A sign of our good tidings to come the next day, if you believe in that. We wound down for the evening, ultimately making a decision on where we were to go for showtime. Our target, the southern tip of Illinois.Then it was time to turn in for an early night since we’d be rolling out in the dark just a few hours later.

Alarms go off. 2am. We begrudgingly wake and start readying for the day we’d all been waiting for. We reload the van, make sure everything is good to go, and we bid adieu to our hotel in Martin, Tennessee. We hit the road for Thebes, Illinois.

A harrowing drive through heavy fog was the start of the day. We crossed into Kentucky. A bridge crossing the Ohio river loomed in the foggy darkness, we crossed and were into Illinois. Eventually we would safely make it to the tiny little village of around 200 people situated right on the Mississippi river just south of Cape Girardeau, Missouri just before sunrise. It wouldn’t take long for godrays to cast through the trees, accentuated by the heavy fog still looming. Hours would pass with the fog still lingering before it would abruptly clear at right around 10am.

When the fog cleared, it showed us what we had all been anticipating and wanting. Clear blue skies above us, with only thin cirrus clouds and jet trails decorating the blue expanse hanging above it. Setup began for 3 of the 4 of us. Time was ticking down.

12:41:51 PM – C1 begins. A small bite appears on the solar disk. A bite that would only get larger and larger, with the light around us dimming. Light fading and getting a strange dulled out shade, as if someone was stamping out the candle that is the sun. The final minutes were here and the light was dimming rapidly. Looking at the horizon, you could see the lunar shadow approaching.

In the final minutes, I resolved my plan in my head. Get the shots I wanted, but most importantly I wanted to do what I didn’t give myself a chance to do in 2017. I wanted to take it in and truly appreciate it. And with the 4 minutes of totality we would get, I would have plenty of time to do so. 

Finally at 1:58:24 PM the Greatest Show in the Solar System began.

Nick Wolf:

On April 8th, 2024 I, and over 50,000 other visitors to the great Indianapolis Motor Speedway witnessed totality for the great American Eclipse. The sky, though covered in a light blanket of clouds, allowed for spectacular viewing of this once in a lifetime event. If there’s any two moments I could pick out as being the most standout events in my mind it would be the sudden drop in temperature a few minutes before totality, the sky lightly dimming almost feeling like a storm was approaching, and the moment you could see Planets Venus and Jupiter on either side of the eclipse at maximum. It was an eerie feeling, as all 50,000 viewers seemingly held their breath, everything going silent for 4 minutes, with a sudden rush of cheers once the daylight returned. It was as if time stopped in those fleeting moments. 4 minutes may not seem like a long time, but in the shock and awestruck gaze during an event like this, it feels more like an eternity.

Luna Doerrie

My path to totality was a bumpy one – but one I will likely not ever forget. On the morning of April 8th, my friend and I woke up at 2 in the morning, off 4 hours of sleep, to make the drive to west Texas. Picking up my girlfriend along the way, we arrived around 8, searching for a colleague. We were participating in a weather balloon launch. As we set up along the windy Texas highway, the excitement set in, every second feeling more real than the last. Finally, approximately an hour and a half before the total eclipse, we were go for launch. We released the balloon. It rose elegantly for a few seconds, but quickly things went wrong – I watched through my camera as it was hit by a downdraft and was pushed straight into a tree. From afar, we could tell its instruments were damaged. Lots of climbing and several bruises later, the balloon was free. The clock was ticking, and we were less than an hour away from totality, the cloud cover almost complete. We made the choice to go north. Get as close to Junction, TX as we could before we didn’t have time to set up our cameras. My friend floored it. 20 minutes of questionably high speed driving later, we saw blue in the sky. We had made it. Through the process of setting up our cameras, we saw the area around us get paler, as if the sky were coming apart above us. Totality itself was awe inspiring, a nearly religious experience; the sky darkens to twilight in the middle of the day, turning into a sunset on the surrounding horizon. The minutes passed, and the sun reappeared as the birds started to sing their morning calls. We all then said our goodbyes, reminiscing on trip full of highs and lows, but unforgettable nonetheless.

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