Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Solar eclipse in Madras

The name "Solarfest" caught my eye last spring, as we're always looking for anything related to solar hot water, PV, green energy.  Plus it was a huge RV hangout.  It was in Oregon in August - but wait, it's for the eclipse, not our normal solar topic.  John was like, "yes!  We need to see the eclipse!"  OK, then let's go!

When my expedition race got changed from Primal Quest to Cowboy Tough, this was the one thing that still had to work - getting to Oregon for Solarfest.  Happily, John was willing to drive there from Wyoming while I slept most of the way.  We made it Friday evening and got in line with a bunch of other campers to take our spot in the large field.  Our first RV festival!

Wandering around the camping area, we found various people getting set up for eclipse viewing, and some of them called us over to come take a look.  This guy was super nice, pointing out a solar flare in his scope:

In line to take a shuttle bus to the festival grounds in the town of Madras, with a view of Mount Jefferson on the horizon:

People were visiting Madras from all over the world:

One reason we wanted to come here for the eclipse - NASA scientists were giving talks and demonstrations all day Saturday and Sunday.  They were also here to view the event, as this was supposed to be one of the best spots for clear skies.

We enjoyed all the great talks, starting with tips on how to view the eclipse.

Popular science talks in the pavilion:

Back to the giant campground on the hill:

It's hard to show the scale of the area and the thousands of tent and RV spots:

We were in the RV area in the back:

OK, let's try from our roof:

Skydivers dropping out of airplanes - also a view of the smoke along the horizon.  There were several nearby forest fires, but luckily the air in Madras didn't seem too bad and the sky right above us stayed clear.

Mount Jefferson above the haze:

It was a nice morning for hot air balloons:

A little bit of solar at Solarfest:

John was ready with the eclipse glasses:

Back to visit the nice man to check out the eclipse as it was starting on Monday morning:

A Jucy!  Memories of last summer:

Another party on top of a rig across the way:

Telescope on a roof over yonder:

And some right beside us:

Our setup on top of Howie:

Eclipse selfie:

It's happening!

Our low-tech version of a telescope, as the moon covered more of the sun:

And then - it was total!

The temperature dropped a whole bunch and suddenly it was twilight:

People cheered and we marveled in the experience.  It was neat watching Mount Jefferson go into shadow before we did, and then get lit up with the sun again while we were dark.  Everything happened fast.

I did have time to soak in the lack of sun and snap more pictures of the ambience:

Sharing the amazing phenomenon with fellow RVer's:

One more attempt at a picture of the moon in front of the sun (good thing there are lots of people with really good cameras to get better results):

Second sunrise and back into the light:

My phone camera actually took a somewhat decent picture of the partial eclipse as we came out the other side:

That was super cool!  I'm really glad we made the effort to be there.

We hear there's another one in a few years...


Lee Wenk said...


I am that 'nice man' with the solar telescopes set up in Madras at SolarFest.
I really enjoyed being there, showing you and lots of others the sun both
before, during and after the eclipse.

I really like the variety and scope of your photographs. I saw most of these
things, but because I wanted to focus on showing the sun through my telescopes,
I did not bring a camera (other than my cell phone). I had fun and I have lots
of good memories.

Thanks for your efforts,
Lee Wenk

Marcy Beard said...

Hi Lee!

We just found out that you know some friends of ours from Bend, too funny! Thank you again for all your hospitality with the telescope and solar knowledge. It was great to meet you.