The Solar Eclipse: Part 2

By Mark Hopper


I shared in my previous article that my wife and I went to see the total Solar Eclipse in St. Joseph, Missouri, on August 21, 2017.  This was the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire USA in about 80 years.  It was exciting to be part of it.


As we sat down in our borrowed lawn chairs, clouds continued to linger overhead.  We knew that the one thing you don’t want on the day of a Solar Eclipse is a cloud filled sky.  We learned later that 90% of the path of the total eclipse across the United States was cloud free.  But, 10% of the path had significant cloud cover.  St. Joe, Missouri was part of the 10%!

The actual eclipse in our area of the country began around noon.  We could see the moon begin to cover part of the sun.  It looked like someone had taken a bite out of the top edge of the sun.  We were able to view this through the high clouds with our special sun glasses.  You could sense the excitement build among the 20,000 people at our location as the eclipse slowly increased.

However, we noticed a band of dark rain clouds heading our way.  The clouds quickly blocked our view of the progress of the eclipse.  The light drizzle turned into heavy rain.  People jumped into their cars hoping for the rain to pass through quickly.  The eclipse was progressing but our view was blocked by the dark clouds.

We had come half way across the country to witness this historic event, but at the very moment of the eclipse, we were in a rain storm!  Finally, when the rain storm passed our location, it was at the height of the eclipse.  We could see parts of the sun directly overhead through the remaining high clouds.  We could see the silvery edge of the sun’s light as the eclipse reached totality.

We really didn’t get to see the total eclipse clearly, but we did experience the black darkness as the shadow of the moon swept across the land.  It was an strange sensation as the day turned to night!  We could see day light on the horizon but we stood in black darkness.  I have read that you can see stars in the middle of the day when the eclipse reaches totality and the sun light is completely obscured.

We did not see any stars, but we did see and feel the darkness as it covered and surrounded us on the ground.  After about 2 minutes of darkness, the sun began to reappear.  A brilliant light graced the edge of the sun as the moon began to move away and more sun light was reappeared.  Even with the high clouds obscuring part of our view, it was a remarkable sight to see.

As quickly as it began, the eclipse quickly diminished.  Two minutes of totality.  Then it was over.  But it was well worth it.  I have heard people say that there is nothing comparable to witnessing a total solar eclipse.  I agree.  It was amazing to see and experience.  I’m glad that we flew across the country to see this unique event.  It was amazing even with our reduced visibility.

One of the things about an eclipse is that is predictable.  Astronomers have known for decades that this event would occur on this exact date, at the exact time in a precise path all the way across the country.  The rotation of the moon around the earth and the orbit of the earth around the sun are perfectly aligned to create a total solar eclipse.

Some would argue that all of this is the result of a Big Bang and billions of years of evolution.  Others would argue that this kind of precision could only be possible through the creative genius and power of our creator.  In the first book of the Bible, we have the account of creation.  It says in part, “Let there be lights in the sky to separate the day from the night…let them serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years…and God saw that is was good”(Genesis 1:14).

In Psalm 19 it says, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands”.  Let me encourage you to dust off your Bible and read these passages for yourself.  You can draw your own conclusions.  And, let me also encourage you to plan see the next total eclipse in Austin, Texas in 2024!  You will be glad you did!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd


Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM


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