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Travels to Totality -- Lab staff hit the road for the eclipse

Ames Laboratory staff traveled far and wide to witness the total eclipse on Aug. 21. The listing below shows where different people or groups viewed the eclipse.

1. Deb Samuelson, California, MO
"We were originally further west but drove east hoping to escape the clouds. We finally pulled off in sunny California (Missouri), and set up in Proctor Park. People were fishing in the small lake, kids were playing on the playground and people gathered right up until the beginning of the eclipse. As the sun started to disappear, the temperature dropped. Then the cicadas started singing and the street lights lit up. Totality resulted in a round of applause, a few cheers from the crowd and even fireworks in the distance. Great experience!"

2. Tom Lograsso, Arrow Rock, MO
"It was amazing how little of the sun was needed to have daylight and how quickly the sun winked out -  a sharp transition."

3. Jeff Bartine, Cameron, MO
"Clouds got in our way.  We were able to see some of the eclipse through the clouds, but right before totality heavy clouds moved in.  It got pretty dark and that was neat.  We will probably try it again in seven years."

4. Iver Anderson, Emma White, Trevor Riedemann, Natalie Riedeman, Ross Anderson, Oscar Anderson, Stacey Trytek, Tim Prost, and Jordan Tiarks, Lathrop, MO
This group traveled to Missouri in two cars, but missed seeing the total eclipse due to heavy cloud cover. According to Trevor, who also had some choice words for Mother Nature, "People kept asking if it had reached totality, but there was no question when it arrived... it went dark like someone had thrown a switch." The group split up on the trip back to avoid the heavy traffic on I-35 and got some bonus photos (below) as a result.

5. Julie Slaughter, St. Joseph, MO
"It was cloudy, but actually still pretty cool. It got really dark, almost like night time. And it happened really fast. We saw a bit of it through the clouds. Afterwards, it took two hours extra just to get back to Ames."

6. Sarah Morris-Benevides, Ravenna, NE
Sarah traveled to Ravenna (near her hometown of Loup City) where the community had a number of activities planned, including an appearance by NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. "My favorite part of the whole deal was sharing the experience with my family and watch my aunt (a 30 year science teacher) enjoy the event."

7. Ruslan Prozorov, Kearney, NE
"I stayed overnight in Kearney, but there were lots of people in nearby Grand Island. I watched from the hotel parking lot. The way back was bad -- I've never seen so much traffic on I-80."

8. Emily Rinko, Cookeville, TN
"We attended the eclipse viewing festival at Tennessee Tech (my boyfriend Dustin's alma mater). Our group chose to sit in a campus quad with some blankets, snacks, and lots of water since it was about 96 degrees with only a few clouds in the sky...perfect eclipse weather, but very hot! As the moon passed in front of the sun, it was so surreal! The air started to cool down and automatic lights started to turn on and light up the campus. When totality was reached, to say it was amazing would be an understatement. I was able to clearly see the sun's corona, 4 planets, and a 360 degree sunset. I think my favorite part was when I saw a confused bat fly in the air thinking that it was twilight. "

Below are a few  of the photos these travelers shared.

A composite photo by Ruslan Prozorov.

Stacey Trytek decked out in eclipse glasses. (Trevor Riedemann).

Clouds make Ross Anderson sad. (Stacey Trytek)

Near totality (Trevor Riedemann)

(Stacey Trytek)

Iver Anderson, Jordan Tiarks and Tim Prost watch the
eclipse progress. (Trevor Riedemann)

(Emily Rinko)

Traffic leaving Lathrop, Missouri. (Trevor Riedemann)


(Trevor Riedemann)

A double rainbow showed up on the trip home. (Emma White)