2017 Total Solar Eclipse and "The Sweet Spot"
The Point of Greatest Duration for the Eclipse is over four buildings with solar arrays, on a wine trail.
What will happen?
Will everything shut down, a zombie apocalypse unfold or even worse, Blue Sky Vineyard runs out of wine?!
The total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017 may be seen by more people than any other total eclipse in history. The path of totality crosses the entire country, from the Pacific coast of Oregon to the Atlantic coast of Georgia. A partial eclipse will be seen everywhere in the lower 48 states and the path of totality is within a day's drive of everyone in the USA.
There is one point along this three thousand plus mile path that is a little extra special. It is the “Sweet Spot” - the point of Greatest Duration of Totality and it happens to be virtually on top of Rocky Comfort Cabins and Blue Sky Vineyards. This is just too cool.
What is even more fascinating? The Point of Greatest Duration is happening in the solar powered corner of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Not only is each of our cabins, The Creole House, The Cove, and The Hollow partially powered by Photovoltaic technology but Blue Sky Vineyard has a large array that generates power for the winery with the excess going back to the grid. What a great way to promote solar energy!
While we only have two cabins that we will be renting out for the eclipse, Blue Sky Vineyard will be hosting an eclipse event with a special wine release.
Both Blue Sky Vineyard and Rocky Comfort Cabins will watch a slow decline of power provided by the sun through the partial phase of the eclipse, then there will be no power output at all during totality. The sky may black out, but our cabins will not. The power stored in our batteries will provide everything we need. Blue Sky Vineyard will fall back on the main grid and show no change. Slowly, power output will increase as the moon's shadow passes us on its journey across the continent.
The Sweet Spot
For us at Rocky Comfort Cabins, the partial eclipse starts at 11:53 AM CDT starting out as a small dent in the sun's disc getting larger and larger until the sun appears as a small crescent. Shadows will become more distinct, it will get noticeably darker, the wind will drop and so will the temperature. It will be different than twilight. The planet Venus will become visible and the sky around the sun will get darker. Then the big moment, “the diamond ring” appears, the last flash of sunlight shining between mountains on the moon.
Totality begins for us at 1:20:29 PM CDT and only then is it safe to look directly at the sun without eye protection. At this point the horizon will show what appears to be a 360 degree sunset with stars appearing overhead. Binoculars or a telescope can be used to view the sun's corona and solar flares shooting out from behind the moon's shadow.
Alas, all too soon, 2 minutes 47.54 seconds later the diamond ring reappears and its over, the end of totality. The shortest 2 minutes and 48 seconds you will ever experience, but maybe the most profound. Don't waste it trying to take pictures or messing with a camera or anything else but experiencing this incredible event. The progression through the partial eclipse back to full sunlight at 2:48 PM CDT is anticlimactic, but remember, there is a party going on at Blue Sky Vineyard with a special vintage wine just for the occasion.
Viewing Precautions for an Eclipse
No matter where you end up watching, a total solar eclipse is a natural event that will stay in your memory forever and good preparation will make it more memorable. Make sure you have the correct eye protection because during the progression towards totality the ultraviolet rays from the sun are very dangerous to your eyes. Bring a chair, some snacks and water or some other beverages and don't wait until the last minute to look for a bathroom. You don't want to miss this.
It's the little things
The Solar Eclipse will be a spectacular event and a much needed ethereal distraction for this country. Maybe this somewhat brief, magnificent experience will allow all of us fortunate enough to see it in its totality to step outside of ourselves and remember that indeed, there are things much bigger than ourselves and to live in the moment, enveloped in a celestial peace.