December 2, 2023

Discouraged by gloom, 1000’s of Bay Space residents gathered in events early Saturday morning to gaze up at overcast skies.

Then two honorary visitors made a quick shock look: the solar, and the moon.

From San Jose to Danville to San Rafael, cheers erupted when skies brightened, then dimmed, because the moon crept throughout the floor of the solar, shrinking it to a mere crescent within the area’s first peek at a partial “annular” photo voltaic eclipse in 11 years.

“I see it!” shouted youngsters at a festive Palo Alto occasion sponsored by Stanford’s Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, holding protecting glasses to their faces.

Lesley and Lyric Dawson, left and heart, and Iyanis Ludwig use their particular glasses to view the eclipse throughout a viewing occasion, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Stanford College. (Karl Mondon/Bay Space Information Group) 

Then the wonderful view vanished.

For many of the annular eclipse, the climate was a tease, cooperating solely intermittently alongside a lot of its Bay Space path. The clouds opened as much as enable a fast peak, then closed once more.

That’s as a result of moisture rode into the area in a single day, making a pall of grayness.  One other weak climate system is predicted to maintain temperatures cool on Monday, adopted by a little bit of a heat up subsequent week, in keeping with the Nationwide Climate Service.

Clouds crashed the social gathering in San Francisco. “A few of my best work,” bragged @KarlTheFog on Twitter.

“It was overcast, as common. Attempting to do any astronomy in San Francisco teaches you find out how to develop a zen perspective,” mentioned Bing Quock of the Morrison Planetarium at California Academy of Sciences, which arrange giant plasma display screen TVs on an outside patio for streamed viewings from NASA and different locales.

“You hope for the very best, however you settle for no matter occurs,” he mentioned.

The solar was additionally obscured at Lake Tahoe.

Exterior the route of “totality,” we had been promised solely a partial view, at finest.

And it’s not a complete eclipse, as in 2017, the place the moon absolutely blocked the solar alongside a path that handed by means of Oregon, with a partial eclipse seen within the Bay Space. It’s referred to as an annular photo voltaic eclipse as a result of it creates a superb ring, or annulus, of daylight.  That occurs as a result of the moon is simply too distant to thoroughly cowl the photo voltaic disk.

From starting to finish, the occasion lasted about 2.5 hours. The shadow of the moon throughout an eclipse strikes as quick because the moon strikes in its orbit – a speedy 2500 miles per hour.

The nation gained’t have lengthy to attend for the subsequent one — on April 8, 2024, a complete eclipse will sweep northeast from Texas to Maine.

To get to Stanford in time to handle a hydrogen telescope, Creighton Vonn, 14, of the San Jose Astronomy Faculty Affiliation awoke at 6 a.m. The occasion additionally featured white-light photo voltaic telescopes, solar spotters and photo voltaic binoculars — units that enable secure viewing — and academic stations that defined photo voltaic physics, optics, and the photo voltaic system.

“It’s good. The solar is a crescent, just like the moon,” mentioned Foothill Faculty college students Gabriela Grishashvili, who adjusted a white mild telescope all through the morning as our planet rotated on its orbit. “The Earth’s not flat!” joked fellow pupil Marlo Baca.

Beneath cool skies, the chocolate “photo voltaic s’mores” didn’t soften. However kids fortunately ate them anyway, then experimented with UV-sensitive beads and constructed their very own pinhole cameras.

Eugene, one of many the primary cities on the slim swath of “totality,” was cloudy. So was Ukiah. As a substitute of sun-gazing, crowds celebrated Pumpkinfest with candy potato pies and native Low Hole Bourbon.

The climate was extra cooperative alongside a lot of the remainder of the eclipse’s direct path to Texas.

Within the excessive desert exterior the tiny Modoc County city of Cedarville, on the sting of the Warner Mountains simply eight miles from the Nevada border, former Marin Nation resident Michael Sykes basked within the glory of the sight.

Enjoyable in a chair in the course of the sagebrush, “I couldn’t have requested for a extra stunning expertise,” Sykes mentioned. “The clouds moved actually quick and made it that rather more attention-grabbing.”

Leaving the U.S., the eclipse crossed the Gulf of Mexico into Central America, the place skies had been clear.

Alongside the crowded seashores of Costa Rica’s south Caribbean, below the direct path of the eclipse, former Mercury Information editor Karl Kahler mentioned “at first you may see the moon placing a bit of dent within the higher proper facet of the solar. Quickly it seemed like a crescent moon. By 12:03 p.m., the protection was nearly whole, with simply the ‘ring of fireplace’ seen across the moon.”

For a number of hours, all appeared proper with the world.

Gazing up in surprise “unites us,” mentioned Mahlet Shiferaw, who’s learning cosmology at Stanford.

“It’s one thing that has enamored humanity for 1000’s of years, that goes past human understanding,” Shiferaw mentioned. “Everyone seems to be united in the identical awe.”