Eclipse ex­pe­ri­ence

Quinan as­tronomer shares ex­pe­ri­ence of eclipse from Ne­braska

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - CARLA ALLEN

Yar­mouth County as­tronomer shares his ex­pe­ri­ence.

So­lar to­tal­ity was sur­real, like walk­ing into an­other world, says Quinan as­tronomer Tim Doucette.

“It ba­si­cally touched on all your senses. It was like a dream al­most,” he said.

Doucette trav­elled to Grand Is­land, Ne­braska, to meet with other mem­bers of The Royal As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety of Canada and As­tron­omy Nova Sco­tia for the event.

Although he only has 10 per cent of his vi­sion be­cause of be­ing born with cataracts, he can per­ceive ul­tra­vi­o­let light and of­ten sees things the av­er­age per­son can’t.

The eclipse lo­ca­tion pro­vided two min­utes and 33 sec­onds of so­lar to­tal­ity. Dur­ing a to­tal eclipse of the sun, the moon cov­ers the en­tire disk of the sun.

“Once to­tal­ity hits and the disk of the sun is com­pletely blocked by the moon, it is safe to take your glasses off,” said Doucette.

“I took my glasses off very briefly, just to see the colours. Around the hori­zon, it’s ba­si­cally a sun­set, all the way around.

“The up­per part of the sky was very pink­ish-pur­ple, I’m as­sum­ing mostly be­cause of the ul­tra-vi­o­let. It was spec­tac­u­lar, a jaw-drop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The eclipse- watch­ing group was stay­ing at the KOA camp­ground and as the time drew near there was con­cern that ap­proach­ing cloud cover would spoil the show.

“One of the mem­bers said, ‘ To­tal­ity’s not for an­other 45 min­utes. The eclipse has al­ready started; we’ve taken our pic­tures. I can drive 20 miles in 40 min­utes,’” said Doucette.

The as­tronomer con­voy hit the road and ended up in a farmer’s field on a dirt road through a corn­field. The skies were per­fectly clear: blue with a little bit of cloud on the hori­zon.

One of the ob­servers set up a cam­era to record the re­ac­tions of ev­ery­one.

“There was a lot of oohing and aahing,” said Doucette. It was a first eclipse for many in the group.

He says he knows now why some peo­ple say, “If there’s one thing you do in your life, you owe it to your­self to ex­pe­ri­ence a to­tal so­lar eclipse.”

“I’m hooked. It won’t be my last,” he said.

He says that around the world there’s ba­si­cally an eclipse ev­ery year-and-a-half.

“The next one is in South Amer­ica. I won’t be run­ning to that but there’s an­other one com­ing up for us in 2024. That will be in New Brunswick… un­for­tu­nately, it’s in April and it will be a little chilly, but it doesn’t mat­ter,” he said.

Doucette is the owner-oper­a­tor of Deep Sky Eye Ob­ser­va­tory in Quinan. His astro-tourism busi­ness en­hances the re­gion’s UNESCO Starlight cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with as­tro­nom­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences on site.

He teaches as­tron­omy ba­sics, the use of tele­scopes, the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing the night sky and how to use a star finder. He also in­tro­duces vis­i­tors to other ce­les­tial won­ders.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Deep Sky Ob­ser­va­tory in Quinan, Yar­mouth County.

TI­MOTHY DOUCETTE

The diamond ring ef­fect is a stage the eclipse passes through dur­ing a so­lar eclipse.

TI­MOTHY DOUCETTE

So­lar to­tal­ity - the moon cov­ers the en­tire disk of the sun.

Ti­mothy Doucette with Dave Chap­man from Dart­mouth, as­tron­omy com­mu­ni­ca­tor at The Royal As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety of Canada.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.