The eclipse began at approximately 5:30 p.m. PDT, racing across the Pacific Ocean at 1,000 mph and making landfall over the California / Oregon border. For us in Kanarraville, "first contact" began at 6:30pm (mountain time). The small town of less than 300 people had close to 5,000 folks from all around the world visit to witness the event; an estimated 15,000 people crowded roadways and small towns from St. George, Utah to Cedar City, Utah. NASA declared Kanarraville as being dead center on the eclipse track, and Utah has a reputation for fantastic weather at this time of year, so naturally I chose this location to cover the event, and I could not have picked a better place.
(Click for larger image) Above: Onlookers watch as the eclipse reaches annularity on a mountaintop outside of Kanarraville, Utah. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace
I chose to hike up a mountain on the edge of town to be on high ground to cover the event, and several locals had the same idea. Local townspeople rode around non-stop on ATV???s hauling coolers full of ice cold water bottles, selling to thirsty eclipse chasers for $1.00 each. Locals also sold eclipse T-shirts and other memorabilia.
(Click for larger image) Above: Ed Braithwaite and his dog look on as the eclipse progresses in the skies over Kanarraville, Utah. Little eclipses can be seen on his face, as sun light is filtered through little holes in his hat. Ed drove 30 miles from St George, Utah to Kanarraville to witness the eclipse. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace
First contact, the point where the moon begins to cover the sun, occurred just before 6:30pm mountain time for us. The weather could not have been more perfect, clear blue skies and 80 degrees. Lots of clapping and cheers could be heard echoing off the mountains from people who opted to stay in town to watch the eclipse. As the eclipse progressed, the sky became noticeably darker, shadows took on an odd gray tone and even sunlight itself became something more like what someone would see at sunset, a very dim light, almost like a mix of sunlight and shadow.
(Click for larger image) Above: What appears to be a 747 airliner passing through the crescent eclipsed sun. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace
Annularity, the point where the eclipse reaches its maximum, occurred at 7:30pm and lasted over four minutes. The skies grew dark and the only light that remained from the Sun was a thin ring that encircled the dark silhouette of the Moon, sending the landscape into a low light - dogs could be heard howling and hawks could be heard calling from the mountains behind us.
(Click for larger image) Above: Annularity, the point where the moon and sun reach the peak of the eclipse. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace
It was another hour before the eclipse ended, 8:30p.m., when the sun set behind the mountains to the west of Kanarraville. The next solar eclipse for the United States will be in 2017, a total solar eclipse where the moon covers 100% of the sun and can be viewed safely without eclipse glasses or other eye protection. Another annular solar eclipse will not touch U.S. soil again until 2023.
(Mike Killian / Zero-G News)
(Click for larger image) Above: Little eclipses visible as glare from the sunlight on the camera lens during annularity. Photo Credit: Mike Killian for ARES Institute and AmericaSpace
(Click for larger image) Above: The eclipsed sun begins to set behind the mountains west of Kanarraville, Utah. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace
(Click for larger image) Above: The eclipse seconds before annularity. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace