Solar Eclipse in Maine

29 Aug 2017 Karina S. Henkel

Well, that was really disappointing! I think everybody noticed the hype around the solar eclipse in the US on August 21, 2017. People traveled from far to be in the corridor of the full eclipse. I read that some had booked their hotel rooms two years ago just to make sure that they got a good spot.

I was kind of excited, too. But not excited enough to prepare for it. On that morning, I asked at two places for special sunglasses, and they were sold out – of course. But then I thought that wouldn’t matter too much, since the world would look so much darker than usual. I wouldn’t need glasses, I thought.

The eclipse in Maine covered almost 60 percent of the sun, and I stepped outside our office building the moment the eclipse started, hoping to see the partially covered sun. I waited and waited and it did not get darker. Maybe a little. But not really. When the eclipse was at its maximum, many people left their work places, stared into the sun (despite the strong advice not to do that), made pictures with their smartphones and looked disappointed – just like me. We all had expected a lot more. How is it possible that the sun, only shining with 40 percent of its usual capacity, still gives so much light that we hardly notice a difference from its usual intensity?

When I went back into my office I was half blinded because I also had stared into the sun, trying to see the moon in front of it. Green dots and orange blobs were dancing in front of me while I was trying to decipher the amounts in my Excel spreadsheet on the monitor. I silently chastised myself for being so stupid to stare into the sun and hoped that these problems would vanish quickly.

No eclipse for us Mainers. At least not in 2017. I already reserved my spot for the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Then Maine will be one of the states that has the front seat for that event. But who knows if I will be still in Maine by then?