Just Follow Your Daughter to an Eclipse

Just Follow Your Daughter to an Eclipse

Bob Johnson’s remarkable photo of the sun just emerging from the moon’s shadow at 3:20 Monday afternoon seen from a park in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, in the path of totality.

It’s the Friday before the eclipse. Bob and Judy Johnson from Arlington are on Interstate 70 headed for Columbus, Ohio where they will spend the first night with their daughter who teaches astronomy. 

“Then we’ll have much discussion about where to drive on Monday. It’s up in the air. They’re still forecasting totality across Ohio. Cincinnati is in the zone. We may drive as far as Indianapolis if that looks better for seeing the eclipse. It is totally dependent on cloud cover. There’s a bit of serendipity. ”

The Johnsons know another couple who are on a Smithsonian Journey trip in Texas and another who are in Mexico City and headed to Mazalan in Mexico to see the eclipse on Monday. “Ours isn’t that exciting.” 

But they will have their own personal guide, daughter Jennifer, who teaches astronomy at Ohio State. “She has always been interested in this area since she was a kid.” Judy says they don’t have solar protective glasses because Jennifer has been charged with all of the protective gear. “Glasses on now. O.K. to take them off.” 

Judy says that they aren’t eclipse chasers but they did go to the 2017 eclipse in St. Louis. “We have a daughter there, too. We watched it with her on the banks of the Mississippi.” She said everyone had their cell phone out checking where the the cloud cover is least. “It’s sort of a moving feast kind of thing.”

“Bob, I forgot my map of Ohio.” She explains, “We have a navigation system in the car but there is some concern that the navigation systems might become overloaded because of the number of people. I always liked maps.

“In 2017 it was crowded, not cheek-to-jowl but you spend a lot of time waiting for the eclipse to happen so you go early to stake out your spot and you take along your picnic and books.”

Judy says her husband brought along his camera for the last eclipse and has it again. 

“A Canon with telephoto lens,” Bob interjects from the driver’s seat, and a tripod. 

“He took fantastic photos,” Judy says.

Judy remembers in 2017 when the eclipse got close, it got very quiet. “It was very dark. I was glad to see the sun start opening again.”

The rare total solar eclipse appeared locally between 2-4:30 pm on Monday with an estimated nearly 90 percent occlusion here in the Washington Metro area. It did not disappoint.