A mission to view the eclipse — without glasses
I knew the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, would be memorable. Up until Monday morning, I wasn’t exactly what my plans were and how I would view it.
A week prior, and only a week prior, I began reading about how special eclipse glasses were required if you wanted to look directly at it. I sat with this information for only about a day or so under the fever struck me and I ran to the various retailers listed as carriers of the glasses. Of course, everywhere was sold out. I was not as surprised as I was disappointed. I continued to do my research and took comfort in the other options presented.
I could make a pinhole projection camera or view the live streaming via NASA, but I knew watching it on a screen would not be very satisfying to me. I also knew about the various viewing parties in the area, however I didn’t feel that would be a viable option for me. At last, I read that there would be natural effects in the shadows of tree leaves and such. The trees would serve as a natural pinhole camera.
I knew right away this was something I wanted to see and I decided this would be my best way to view the partial eclipse. I knew nothing was guaranteed and I didn’t come up with a backup plan.
By choosing this method, all I had to do was to make sure I was near the right trees at the right moment.
Around 1 p.m. on Monday in Pottstown, the sky was pretty cloudy. I was not optimistic and many others felt similarly. The ground was dark, with only a flickering of light every few minutes.
As 2:30 p.m. rolled around, with the climax of the event set for 2:44 p.m., I remained outside to see if condition would improve. And suddenly, as I stood on the porch, I could see dozens of little crescents. It was wonderful. It took the moment in and then started snapping photos, racing the clouds that would surely drift back over.
In addition to the shadows, I also greatly enjoyed viewing the live news coverage from across the country. We were all able to experience the same thing – the same rare, natural thing – and it was beautiful.
The next total solar eclipse will occur in April 2024 — for that one, I will be sure to get my glasses well in advance.
A distant view of shadows. While it may be difficult to see, there are hundreds of little crescents.
A view of the solar eclipse through the shadows. Photo taken at 2:54 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, in Pottstown.
The solar eclipse created this crescent effect in the shadows of the trees. This photo was taken at 2:34 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, in Pottstown.