We had an eclipse in the Bay Area this morning, 76 percent of totality
That is pretty good totality, but I've seen 76 before
As much as people pay to live here, I would have expected a bigger number. The cost of living is so high in the Bay Area, they expect more for their bucks.
The percentage did not matter, however. We had the usual fog and low clouds through the morning, so the percent of totality was irrelevant.
However, people in Contra Costa County had better skies and saw a good show. They pay for their better weather, though. Only about 25 miles east of Berkeley, cities such as Walnut Creek and Concord will roast above 100 degrees when it's in the high 70s here.
But even with clear skies, we would not have seen the entire solar blackout. We were in the penumbra.
You're not near totality if you can read PNUMBRA this easily
That's what we get for only being in the penumbra of an eclipse. A drop in the overall light - enough to notice - but also frustrating.
If you're watching an incomplete eclipse, it can start to feel like a horse race. You're watching the moon chomp away at the sunlight. But just when it appears the moon will completely swallow the sun...it backs off.
Eclipse observers will feel the frustration of bettors at the race track who sees the chance for success. Their horse is coming up fast as the horses storm for the finish line. Their horse has a chance of winning! The bettors will shout, "Come on, Dragon!"
But the racehorse named Dragon lags in the last few yards and loses.
And the watchers of the eclipse will wonder if they should have driven a hundred miles to seal the deal with totality.
And the owner should have named that racehorse Draggin'.
Despite the incomplete celestial visibility here in the Bay Area, I did not feel a loss. Decades ago, I saw a total eclipse with perfect clear skies. At the time, I lived a few miles from the Canadian border.
The eclipse in North Dakota arrived in February of 1979 and the farm fields were covered with snow. The highlight of the eclipse was looking at the Baily's Beads. They were part of the Diamond Ring Effect during totality. I watched tiny spots of ruby-red light on the bottom of the circle, at the six o'clock location. An amazing celestial moment.
The timing that day was exquisite, as if two members of our solar system had arranged this for the people of earth. I would have driven a hundred miles for it.
But having seen a total eclipse once, I did not travel up to Oregon for the event today.
How did I spend my time during this eclipse?
I looked through some of my sun photographs: the real sun and the plates, and some shadows. It was fun to take a drive down Solar Memory Lane.
Here's one from April 11th of 2000. A couple of helicopters and a giant seagull.
I visited the home opener of the San Francisco Giants at their beautiful new baseball park, AT&T Park. On opening day, it was named Pac Bell, and then the park was named after SBC. But I think they'll stick with AT&T a while.
I did not have a ticket for the game, though, but thousands of visitors that day were without tickets. We just walked around and enjoyed the fireworks and airplane flyovers, then listened to the play-by-play on KNBR.
The Giants lost their opener, by the way. The Dodgers beat them by a run. Overall, the Giants opening day record is something around 13 wins and 4 losses, give or take a couple. They also set a record for the National League, selling out 530 consecutive games between 2010 and 2017.
And this is clearing fog above Ironworks, a climbing gym in Berkeley. I've read that the people behind Ironworks are planning to purchase and remodel the Oaks theater in Albany, so climbers will be able to keep their skills sharp there, too. Maybe climb the marquee.
A direct shot of the sun as it was setting between two towers in Emeryville. It wasn't the summer solstice or Stonehenge, but it was something. Always fun to see that star effect without using a filter to create it.
It was dropping the Christmas tree into place, a fir about as tall as the one erected every year in San Francisco's Union Square.
For the Solar Eclipse 2017, I also looked at some of my plates honoring the sun....
That's hot, but here's something strange: the temperature increases farther away from the sun.
When the top of a convertible is down, I guess you do get the maximum sun
Solar power is big in California
About 10 percent of the state's electrical power comes from solar panels
SolarCity is a leader in solar power generation and storage. They are headquartered in Silicon Valley, but I found this in Oakland years ago. Since then, SolarCity has been acquired by Tesla.
I wonder...who got the plate after the merger?
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Sunny San Francisco!
My sides are hurting! This is too much! That's like saying "Low Humidity Atlanta!" Or "Hot Anchorage!"
Or "Fiscally Responsible Washington D.C.!"
The year was 2001, and I was driving from SF to the eastern side of the bay. The only sun on the bridge was that plate.
A good example of irony because SF was swallowed by fog that day, and the Bay Bridge here was lost in the clouds.
Maybe an example of sarcasm, actually. We've never met, so I can't assess the car owner's hatred of the marine layer.
It is common in the morning for SF to be completely foggy. However, by the afternoon, the eastern half of the city is often clear and sunny. Meanwhile, everything west of Twin Peaks is still grey. And in June and October, because of the high pressure systems, we often have clear skies all day long.
But most people would consider "SUNNY SF" oxymoronic. There was a summer in the 1990s when a section of the Sunset district went about 40 days without seeing the sun.
And we close with an optimistic plate, SUN FREE.
I met the owner years ago when his car was a Porsche. The owner was a pleasant gentleman who told me what the plate meant.
SUN FREE was about hope. No kidding.
The owner bought the plate decades ahead of technology. It expressed his wish that someday, he could drive an electric car. The car would not be solar-powered, but the source of the energy at home for recharging the batteries would be solar.
Driving a Tesla, he's halfway there
© 2017 J.M. Clarke. All Rights Reserved.