MADRAS — When the temperature dropped several degrees during Monday’s total solar eclipse, Cynthia Fisher, a 47-year-old scientist from Burnaby, British Columbia, wrapped herself in a sweater.
But Fisher was still shaking as the sun emerged above the Madras High School football field, where Lowell Observatory astronomers hosted an eclipse-viewing event. Fisher, who has a degree in physics and a Ph.D. in biology, was overcome with emotion. She said the experience was nothing she could have prepared for.
“That was worth everything, and I am so glad I made the effort,” she said. “It was beautiful, I mean really just absolutely stunning.”
Weather conditions were mostly clear close to 10 a.m., just before the eclipse hit totality.
The Lowell Observatory event was full of science talks that educated hundreds of people. Kelly Ferguson, Lowell Observatory education coordinator, was excited to be in Madras to see the full effect of a total solar eclipse.
“The photons that traveled from the sun to your eyeballs, no one else in the world got to experience exactly what you saw,” said Ferguson, 26. “I hope they don’t worry about trying to take a picture or Snapchat. People should just enjoy being a part of this history. I, myself, feel so lucky to be able to be here in the path of totality.”
After viewing a previous eclipse in Goldendale, Washington, in 1979, Portland’s John Recht, 66, and his wife, Linda Roch, 64, were excited to see the diamond effect, which Recht described as the sunlight traveling through the mountain peaks on the moon to create a sparkling effect at the very beginning and end of totality.
Monday’s eclipse thrilled several hundred people who had come to the football stadium. The crowd whooped and hollered as the clock on the scoreboard counted down to the start of totality.
In the midmorning darkness that followed, expressions of excitement and wonder rang out from the crowd.
When it was done, Fisher had tears in her eyes.
“I’m blown away,” Fisher said. “I had no idea what it was going to be like, and it was so surreal. It was so beautiful.”
— Reporter: 541-617-7829, firstname.lastname@example.org