The Great SOLAR ECLIPSE of 2017


Solar eclipse events are not uncommon across out planet, but they very often show up in places that are either difficult or expensive to get to. This one was an exception. It was the first total solar eclipse to traverse the country from coast to coast in 99 years. It received such press coverage that an extimated 20 million of us may have tried to get into the direct path of totality.

My wife Gail and I had one slight advantage. Our daughter lives in Savannah, Georgia, and we planned a trip there to overlap with the eclipse.

On the Saturday before the eclipse, we scouted likely places to be able to park and observe without being disturbed. We settled on the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forest areas in Awendaw, South Carolina, about 90 miles NNW of Charleston. We found three likely spots where we should have no trouble staying for the duration of the event.

August 21, 2017

Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests, Awendaw, South Carolina, United States

We left Savannah about 8:30 AM for the approximately 2:45 PM eclipse, thinking that traffic going to these sites would be extremely heavy. Surprisingly, it wasn’t! The first photo was taken shortly after 11 AM. Interestingly, the very first parking area we selected, at a National Park facility, was already closed. But, luckily for us, they opened another building’s parking lot about 600 feet closer than the building we chose. We parked and were told that it was a short walk to the prime parking area, through a trail in the woods…just a few minutes away. That area was quite packed with several hundred people. There were cameras, cameras on tripods, and telescopes everywhere. Some of the equipment was what some would consider ‘serious’ astronomical instruments. NICE! Now, all that was left to do was to wait patiently. I am compelled  to mention that the National Park Service personnel was incredibly accommodating. They even handed out ice cold water to many of us.

As a point of reference, most of the larger frames were taken at 280mm.


(Don’t say you haven’t been notified!)

The NEXT total eclipse over the United States will be on April 8th, 2024. It will cross southwest, beginning in Atlantic Canada, proceeding through Texas and then Mexico.

We’ll be ready for that one.