As my girlfriend and I laid on a blanket on my front lawn, staring up at the sky with our tacky eclipse glasses, things seemed perfect. The solar eclipse was well underway, with the sun already looking like a misshapen fortune cookie.
I had never seen an eclipse with my own eyes before, and even with a few clouds in the sky, it was a breathtaking sight. What could possibly ruin this moment?
A lot of things, actually.
From where I was sitting in Manhattan, the total solar eclipse of 2017 quickly became something of a disaster. The partly cloudy skies that gave the town a relaxing atmosphere at noon soon gave way to overcast skies that meant I could hardly see any of the action.
Even with the overcast skies, I remained optimistic. I could catch glimpses of the eclipsed sun through the clouds as they moved along, and I also discovered that I could see the sun better if I just took my eclipse glasses off.
Interestingly enough, the sun can still hurt your eyes even when you can barely see it. I got a well-deserved headache for my overconfidence.
With the cloud coverage getting worse by the minute, things were looking grim for my opportunity to see the 99 percent eclipsed sun I was promised by NASA’s website.
It was getting dark just before 1 p.m., but not as dark as I had hoped for. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that one percent of the sun can make a big difference between light and dark.
I quickly became jealous of my friends who traveled to the path of totality and got to see the world become shrouded in total darkness for a short while. It was neat to hear insects start chirping at 1 p.m. in Manhattan, but it was only as dark as it gets when it is about to rain. What gives?
At 1:04 p.m., when the sun experienced maximum lunar coverage behind a sea of depressingly gray clouds, I felt a raindrop hit my eyeball. And then another. Suddenly, a light rainstorm had moved in, and it did not let up for most of the day.
My blanket was damp, my socks were wet and my dreams of seeing the sun disappear behind its pale celestial counterpart were soggy as can be. If I wanted to see the sun disappear behind some rain clouds, I would just move to Seattle.
Overall, as cool as it is catching even a glimpse of a solar eclipse, I was sorely disappointed by the uncooperative weather. At least I can try again in 2024.
As my final verdict, I give the 2017 total solar eclipse a C- for a solid attempt that fell flat on its face.
Kyle Hampel is a junior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to [email protected]