My First Total Eclipse of the Sun

Toadstock the final chapter?

I started looking for a venue to view my very first total eclipse of the sun about a year ago when I discovered that the August 21 2017 eclipse path of totality was within easy driving distance from Sturgis South Dakota. the first place I considered was Elkhorn Springs Campground in the Casper Mountain County Park. I couldn’t find any information on whether the campground took reservations and I did not want to leave anything to chance if I could help it.

I don’t remember exactly how I found it but one day I stumbled on the “Toadstock” site, about two hundred miles from home, $50.00 bought me a four day pass that included camping and three nights of live music.


I arrived Friday afternoon to a mostly deserted pasture seven miles west of Alliance Nebraska and picked a campsite in the southeast corner and set up camp Charlie.


I came prepared, I found some polycarbonate welders lenses and fashioned solar filters for my binoculars and two cameras for under $30. A photographer from The Denver Post came by on Saturday and took a picture.

Total solar eclipse 2017
ALLIANCE, NE – AUGUST 19: Charles Brooks, of South Dakota, looks at sunspots through binoculars that he outfitted with welding glass as he camps on August 19, 2017 in Alliance, Nebraska. Brooks is in town for Monday’s total solar eclipse. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)


Crescent Moon and Venus at sunrise Saturday Morning


Sunday morning, let the day begin.


Monday, Eclipse Day


I woke up before dawn and I could not see the lights of Alliance on the horizon because a pea soup fog had dropped visibility to under one mile. There was a dense fog advisory for the area and this was the first day that I couldn’t watch the sunrise. About seven o’clock the sun started to burn off the fog.


Lat.: 42.1145° N, Long.: 103.0118° W

Total Solar Eclipse
Duration of Totality: 2m30.4s
Magnitude: 1.014
Obscuration: 100.00%

Event Date Time Alt Azi
Start of partial eclipse (C1) : 2017/08/21 10:26:55.1 45.9° 122.2°
Start of total eclipse (C2) : 2017/08/21 11:48:57.0 56.5° 149.7°
Maximum eclipse : 2017/08/21 11:50:12.1 56.6° 150.2°
End of total eclipse (C3) : 2017/08/21 11:51:27.4 56.7° 150.7°
End of partia  eclipse (C4) : 2017/08/21 13:16:26.5 59.4° 190.3°


My Neighbors

Camp Charlie is the red, yellow and blue blur in the lower right corner of the aerial shot.


Eclipse Oregon, Redmond, USA - 21 Aug 2017
This photo shows solar flare as the sun emerges from a total eclipse by the moon.


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