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The Eclipse of 2017.
We watched a little black hole get punched into the sky where the Sun used to be. The Sun dimmed, and then seemed to wink out in an instant, to be replaced by a ring of dim white fire in a darkened sky. People applauded and a start, a kind of surprised noise of wonder, went up from the thousands in the park watching with us.This is what we had all come to see, but we were still startled by the suddenness and intensity of the experience. Then there was cheering and applause. People are strange - applause? But then, what else would you do. In the few minutes the event lasted, the temperature dropped noticeably and quickly. Some say by twenty degrees (from 95 to 75). I can't say for sure; I brought no thermometer. Everyone started, people shouted, and pointed. Then it was over, and we all looked at each other as if to ask, "Did you see that; did it really happen?" Then we wondered if we really saw it ourselves. We had gone to a strange place in the universe; but now it was back to Earth - and time for the long drive out. At the moment it happened, everything else seemed silly and irrelevant - race, politics, opinion - all foolishness. Every once and a while the universe reminds us of how things really are. Then we quickly forget and things get back to normal.

A slightly bigger bite has now been taken from The Sun. Though not yet apparant to the naked eye, the light has become just a bit dimmer. The sun here si still far too bright to be viewed without protection.
A short walk from our campground brought us to the park pavilion. Inside were a collection of nature exhibits, restrooms, guides and staff, as well as some special displays set up for the eclipse.
Lots of visitors, including lots of young visitors.It's nice to see so many kids here. This is a nice park in a large natural setting. There is camping, a shooting range, boating, picnic grounds, hiking trails, and scenic lookouts. It's good to see kids doing something other than playng video games, watching movies, and doing Facebook.
A large relief map and descriptive area of this very large park. This place almost has the feel of a national park.
Some tables are set up for materials dealing with the eclipse. There are a lot of eclipse related thing outside as well, but the blessedly cool air conditioning makes this a nice place to be.

More nature exhibits, and things to do.
There is also lots to buy here, though not so much as at some other places. It's hard not to spend money here, and everyone wants to have something to take home with them.
The entrance door flanked by announcements, a service counter, and opening onto a large map.
In the meantime, the eclipse progresses, with perhaps a quarter of The Sun blocked out.
The outside of the pavilion is planted in a nice, wild garden of plants native to the area. A placard gives a description of the plants, and a low set retaining wall doubles as a bench.
Looking directly across the native garden shows it is thick, and wild. A century or so ago, this whole part of the country looked like this.
With The Sun about half covered, the light is changing noticeably. In addition to the official telescopes and observers, nearly everyone seems to be taking pictures. Some have astronomical quality filters, while others (like me) are simply using the eclipse sunglasses being sold by local vendors - putting them in from of their camera or cellphone lens.
By this time, the light was getting downright strange. Though the Sun was still far too bright to view through unfiltered eyes, it was obviously dimming.
With just a sliver left, The Sun is still far too bring to look at, but there is obviously something very strange going on. The light is taking on an odd far off look, with all of the highlights being very bright, and all of the shadows being very dark.
This photo was the best my camera could do, in regards to exposure. The light was getting very strange, very blue, and very much a point source, so contrast was high. I suppose this must be what daylight is like on some of the outer planets.
If yuo take a close look at the light splashes in these shadow areas, you will notice that they are all crescent shaped, just like the crescent of The Sun. It is just one of many strange things that the eclipse is doing to the quality of the light.
A little sliver of the sun, very nearly covered now, yet still far too bright to view directly.

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