Family Fun in Central Texas, Part 4: Total Solar Eclipse in Frederickburg

This is my fourth post about our family's travels to Central Texas. I suggest reading the first, second, and third posts before reading this one. Because I blog about educational travel, I was given free admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the attractions we visited throughout the trip. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I recommend without hesitation. If you notice any gaps in my narrative, it's because something wasn't worth mentioning.


Fredericksburg, Texas

I'm not exaggerating when I say that the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 had been on our family calendar for 7 years. After experiencing his first total solar eclipse in Oregon in 2017, Steve has been counting down the days for this one. He and his parents (who drove his telescope and other equipment to and from Texas) chose Fredericksburg as our viewing location due to a combination of factors. Specifically, it was centered in the path of totality and located closest to California. 

Just minutes after dawn on the day of the eclipse, Steve was out back setting up his telescope. 

For those who are interested, that is an 8-Inch Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (affiliate link here and below). He's had since he was 14 and loves it. You can see his camera on the tripod; he uses this solar filter film for astrophotography. 

For weeks, Steve had expressed concerns about the forecasted weather and the possibility of cloud cover in Fredericksburg. But we were not in a position to try to chase better forecasts during the days leading up to the eclipse. We were committed. As you can see, we did indeed have a mostly cloudy sky that morning. There were hints of blue and bits of sun peeking through the clouds, but it was more cloudy than clear for most of the morning. 


Here, Trevor is checking out sunspots. You can see two in the sun photo. 

Blue skies! And solar glasses for everyone. 

By the time we all gathered, the skies were cloudy again. 

Ooh, it's getting dark!

Clouds were constantly moving in front of the sun. The view changed literally every few seconds. 


As it continued to get darker, the solar lights came on and the birds quieted down. (And the neighbors got louder. Sigh.)


The whole time, the clouds were moving. We'd have a few seconds that were clear, then a few seconds of clouds. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Finally, totality, with brief glances of the diamond ring


Slowly, it got light again and the birds resumed their chirping. (The neighbors were as loud as ever.)

The experience was neat and I'm glad Trevor and I were able to be there. We'd experienced something like 78% coverage from home in 2017, so this experience was very different. I wish the skies had been totally clear so Steve would have been able to get astrophotos as spectacular as in 2017, but I am grateful for what we saw. 

And, it was really nice to have a vacation day where we didn't go anywhere. Our travels are usually packed with activities, so it was a very rare luxury to just stay in one place and relax. We had a full day planned for Tuesday; I'll tell you about that tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. That's serious equipment. Glad you guys could catch it.


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