On August 20, 2017 Chuck and I and a friend, Scott, headed to Madras OR to view the eclipse the following day. We stopped in Goldendale at the Maryhill Museum to view Sam Hill’s amazing, eclectic art collection and then up to the Goldendale Observatory for their 4PM “Solar Show”.
Upon visiting the Maryhill Museum, founded by Sam Hill, one is first struck by the beautiful view of the Maryhill vineyard and the Columbia River Gorge.
Sam Hill was a successful businessman and entrepreneur, president of the Seattle Gas and Electric Company, and president of the Washington State Good Roads Association. He spent much of his life promoting the development of roads throughout the Northwest. In 1907, he purchased 5,300 acres of land along the Columbia River with the dream of establishing a Quaker farming community. When this project failed due to lack of water for irrigation in the area, a friend convinced him to turn his project into an art museum. Thus the Maryhill Art Museum was established. He then began to collect a wide variety of art to his liking.
The eclectic collections at the Maryhill Museum include:
- Native American Gallery
- Samuel Hill story and photos
- Queen Marie of Romania Collection
- Orthodox Icons
- Théâtre de la Mode
- Over 300 chess sets
- Art Nouveau Glass
- Loïe Fuller
- Works from Auguste Rodin
- Outdoor Sculpture Collections
- And even Modern Some Art
Goldendale Observatory “Solar Show”
From Maryhill, we took a short trip to see the Solar Show at the Goldendale Observatory. We learned the following interesting facts about the sun:
- It is composed of about 80% Hydrogen and 20% Helium in a plasma form (the fourth state of matter)
- It is constantly undergoing nuclear fusion.
- It is a Yellow Dwarf (G2V) about 4.6 billion years old
- It will burn through its hydrogen for another 130 million years and then burn through its helium. At that time it will also start to expand and engulf Mercury, Venus, and Earth. It will then become a red giant star. In its final phase, it will collapse and become a white dwarf about the size of earth.
- The Aurora Borealis is caused by the interaction of solar winds with Earth’s atmosphere.
We also learned the difference between prominences, solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Because it was overcast on the 21st, we could not directly view the sun through their telescope. Instead, we watched a time lapse video similar to the following one:
There were many children in the audience and they were invited to participate in a demonstration of how plasma is formed. (The children seemed to know more about the solar system than the adults in the room.)
The eclipse on August 21, 2017 was the first solar eclipse visible from the U.S. since 1979 and the first to cross the entire continent in 99 years. Totality was visible in 12 states. Just north of Madras, the sky was clear, the temperature was perfect and the crowd was orderly and focused. People patiently awaited the amazing few minutes of totality (1 minute 58 seconds worth) which were well worth the wait, long drive, and crowd.
The sunlight became thinner and thinner while the temperature dropped a few degrees. People had picnics, visited with friends, set up viewing gear, blew bubbles, and patiently awaited the brief, but dramatic and memorable dance between the sun and moon.
At the point totality begins, there is a marked reduction in light on the earth. However, because of the Baily’s Beads effect, the entire horizon remains lit producing a very eerie lighting effect. Our friend, Scott, made the following video with his iPhone during the period of totality. In the video, you can hear cheers and whistles as totality begins and ends. You can also see that the horizon remains lit during totality.
The following photo was sent to me by Peggy Miller. It was taken on the Oregon Beach as the eclipse broke landfall.
Sun Crescents can be seen during the partial phase of an eclipse. Here are photos by Daniel Benveniste taken in Bellevue during the partial eclipse with examples and an explanation of this phenomenon.