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A day in the life of an eclipse chaser

We're still not quite over the totality on August 21, so here's one more look.

Our amazing eclipse photos were captured courtesy of Emily Sterneman. Here, she recounts an exciting dash across country to catch the sun. 


5am: Awake. Tired but excited. Worried the partly cloudy forecast will obstruct my first look at total eclipse.

6am: Hitting the road. Everything packed, camera batteries charged, solar filters checked and double-checked.

7am: Traffic already slow in Evansville. Listen to podcasts about eclipse. This may be most viewed eclipse in history — over 200 million Americans live within one day drive of totality.

8am:  Stop at gas station. Small towns expecting thousands of visitors from 46 states. They are bringing in food vendors and opening up farm lands for we 'eclipsers' — who came up with that term?

Courtesy Emily Sterneman; Alaa Fadag.

9am: After quick power nap, arrive city park Princeton, KY. Pretty close now to center of totality. Parking lot of 88 spaces already half-filled.

City officials say closest bathrooms at City Hall. Kind owners of park have opened early in anticipation of us eclipsers - nope, still weird. Many tripods in view and some pretty sweet telescopes.

9:30am: Set up main camera. Run test shots. Meet our neighbors. Two hail from Michigan — so far away makes it worth it to come to the best spot or nothing at all.

10am: Edit photos to clean out memory card. Attempting 3-5 photo bracket every minute for three hours might just fill my 64 GB memory card. Set up GoPro set for time lapse footage. Time to walk around and take in the crowd. Lunch!

11am: Waiting for eclipse to start. Reading. Listening to excited chatter around us. Met a guy that flew from Miami to Chicago and drove down here.

Anxiety and excitiment rising. Take a few clips on the GoPro.

Moon shadow. Three hours of solar eclipse footage condensed into six seconds of celestial choreography. Images were captured with a 500mm f/8 manual lens on a Nikon D750 in Princeton, Kentucky, USA. Courtesy Emily Sterneman/Indiana University.

Hope everything will go as planned. Hope batteries and cards hold out.

90º in the shade and humid. Good thing we brought plenty of food and water.

3pm: The experience of a lifetime! A partial eclipse does not do justice to what it feels like to witness totality. So insanely lucky to get a place with clear skies.

65-year-old man next to me so amazed he cried.

No words. Day into dusk, sunset for 360º.

Just wow.


Read more of our eclipse coverage:

A Hoosier's view of the heavens

2,500 miles of citizen scientists

Practicing science in the dark

The sun was put to shame

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