How about Nebraska?

Road trip for the eclipse

By Josh Howald

Some local astronomy enthusiasts made the long trek to Nebraska last week in order to see the total solar eclipse.

"We left for Grand Falls, Nebraska on Saturday morning and we got there about 8 p.m. Sunday night, which was 7 p.m. there," said Kincardine's Krista Bell, who was in a group of about two dozen people from the area to make the trip.

She said that John Hylnialuk, who is president of the Bruce Astrological Society, went to Nebraska more than a year and a half ago to scout out the best possible spot to see the solar eclipse from. With wide open areas and clear skies, they figured a campground near Grand Falls was the place to be.

"I guess they phoned the campground to book the sites and they laughed at us," chuckled Bell. "A month later they called and apologized and said their phone hadn't stopped ringing."

She said the campground was filled with Canadians armed with telescopes of unbelievable quality. The trip there, itself, was not exciting.

"It was two full days of driving, not much else besides corn and soybeans. Iowa is the home of silos and smokestacks but I didn't see any smokestacks."

Was it worth the trip?

"Yes. I was gobsmacked," said Bell. "I was not expecting anything like that. We took the glasses off and 360 degrees around you was sunset. I could see Jupiter one way, I could see Mars the other. There was  countdown to the diamond ring flash, and oh my goodness, I have never seen such a brilliant flash - and we weren't expecting two. It was unbelievable. Off in the distance, a farmer let off fireworks in his field, it was totally amazing."

The totality was predicted to be minutes, but in reality was only seven seconds.

"You could see the Corunna. I didn't know anything could be as bright as the diamond rings. All around people were popping Coronas and cheering."