Pages

6/06/2012

Transit of Venus, Part II: Solar Chasers by Nathan Eads

Well, here is part 2 written by my son with one small edit on my part.  Other than that, this is all written by Nathan.  I think I should  turn the blog over to him! Hope you enjoy yesterday's adventure from his viewpoint. 

Considering Tuesday had been a great day, when Dad reminded me that the Transit of Venus was going on, that just increased how great the day was. That afternoon, we were set up in the back yard, and armed with our solar-scope, and eclipse shades, we were ready for whatever happened on the sun.

Unfortunately, we hit a major impasse on our mission. A well sized, dark and foreboding cloud bank moved in right above our home, concealing the oh so treasured sun from view.

So, after standing around for what seemed like ages, my dad made the decision to pack up and move. Luckily, Kendra, my sister, had just arrived home, which meant all we had to do was grab a jacket, throw everything into the Pathfinder, and head South/South-West to where the clear blue skies mocked us.

The race was on after that. We, as Dad so appropriately put it later, became Anti-Storm Chasers, leaving behind the clouds and driving to find the sun, or Sun Chasers if you wish. Stopping by an old neighborhood, we ran out of luck, and moved down the new Mountain View Corridor highway, just opened, and hit 134th, to move to Bangerter, and there to Utah County.

In that time, we ran into a few places that would have been ideal, but by the time we got into the parking lots, or found a place to pull over, the cloud-bank was on top of us. Getting extremely frustrated, we started to head out to the West Desert.

While on the way, I saw what would’ve been a ideal place, however, the Veteran’s Memorial Park,  a cemetery for veterans, and we did not want to disturb that hallowed ground, so we moved back to the freeway from there.

Finally, we found a highway system leading into Lehi, where the skies were clear, and the Sun was shining perfectly. Racing to find an opportune place, we find North Point Elementary School, and pulled into its empty parking lot.

Turns out, we had made the right choice. Excluding the wind, which was some of the strongest winds I’ve seen in my life (I’m extremely sheltered), the seeing was great. I made first contact as Dad was setting up the scope with the eclipse shades, which the wind blew out of my hands on arrival. Dad borrowed a pair, looked, and then went to get the same view, but closer using the mighty solar-scope.

Well, after a few minutes, we got it, and while looking at it, a thought came to me. Seeing that little dot on the sun puts things into perspective about how small our planet is. Now, I know that it’s not to exact scale, as Venus is closer to us than the sun is, but I will say this: it’s humbling to know that while we are small in the scale of the universe, we are an occurrence of great significance.

I digress before I turn this into a philosophical rant. So, between the both of us, Dad and I got around 45 minutes each of observing time. During this time, Matt called, and we decided to help him out by scouting out a few places for him to get clear sun.

By this point the cloud-bank was over our little piece of observing heaven, blocking the Sun again. We headed further east towards Highland, where some sunlight was still at full strength. Unfortunately, by the time we hit a spot that seemed good, the cloudbank was over the Sun.

To the south, the skies were clear and mocking. Deciding to call it a day, Dad called Matt, giving him some advice about where to go, and we, Dad and I, headed home. Hitting the highway, I brought Dad up to date with my music selection. Not surprising, he liked it, though I did avoid some of the darker stuff.

Anyways, we hit home, and thinking to be done, settled back into the nightly routine. We dined, and moved on with our lives. Dad received a phone call from one of his observing buddies, and was talking to him, when we had a break in the clouds. Looks like our good karma was kicking in.

Inviting Matt’s sons, who were driving to his location where he was getting some good seeing from what I could tell, and two of my friends, we had a mini star party at house, well, a solar party anyways (yeah, that was bad…). Seeing what we could until the Sun dropped behind a cloudbank over the mountains, we eventually called it good.

So, the overall outcome was good.  Saw a once in a lifetime event that many missed out on, or didn’t know about. Yes, I’m bragging, but I’m a newly graduated adult, I’m still in teen mode. Anyways, I had a ton of fun hanging with my old man. Time is slowly starting to increase in speed and that means I’ll get busy, so I won’t be able to hang out with him as much as I used to, and would love to. So I’ll gladly eat up any moments I can when spending time with him.

Well, have fun reading this…hope it reads fine.