Day of the Eclipse

August 21, 2017  1015 am   72 degrees

When I looked through a telescope at a local science museum at 915 am…

The moon appeared as a bite out of the lower left hand part of the sun at the early stage of 915 am. By the time I reached Fair Oaks Bridge at 1015 am and looked again through a pair of borrowed safety glasses, the sun looked like a sliver – a crescent moon shape. Sacramento’s eclipse reached 77 percent maximum coverage at 1020 am.

Shaded river at maximum eclipse

A dozen people gathered outside their offices on Bridge Street. Another dozen people stood on the bridge, watching the sky. At least as many people gathered on the edge of the Fair Oaks Bluffs hundreds of feet above the American River. – a popular destination for panoramic view of the river and nearby community.

A very speedy duck

River photos of the during the eclipse may illustrate the odd lighting. This was an event you had to be there to get the impact. I also caught a photo of a very speedy duck. It was swimming nearly as fast as the boat that was following close behind.

Fair Oaks Bluffs, American River, Fair Oaks, cliff, eclipse
Tree hugs the cliff of Fair Oaks Bluffs

When the moon passed over the sun, the river was visibly brighter. People stored away their dark glasses and began walking off the bridge. Cyclists started arriving and passing by. Soon the bridge was empty and office workers went back to their desks. Visitors on the bluffs stayed to see the view.

My excitement over seeing the “cool” eclipse was mixed with wonder and sadness – the anticipation of seeing the sun as a sliver and the shock of learning of a tragic fall all at the same time.

I arrived on Bridge Street to see two fire engines – one a special operations unit – idling on the street. There was another fire engine in the parking area alongside the boat launch ramp. When I asked, “What happened? Why are these fire trucks here?” I was told a spectator on the bluffs fell off the cliff. Firemen picked up the person in a boat.