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I Survived an Eclipse in Central Oregon

...and it was pretty anticlimactic.

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Judy Stiegler awaiting the eclipse in 1979
  • Judy Stiegler awaiting the eclipse in 1979
I

t was February of 1979 and my husband and I had moved to Bend just a few months before. I was studying for the bar exam in Portland, leaving Bend on Monday mornings and returning home on Fridays. Monday, Feb. 26, 1979, was a little different than most of my trips over the mountain to Portland, as there was a complete solar eclipse occurring that morning.

There had been some publicity leading up to the event, and it was my intent to try and catch it on my way over. My husband had made me a "viewing box" out of cardboard; none of those NASA-approved devices for me!

The path of totality led across the northern part of Oregon, with totality to occur sometime around 8 am, and I planned my morning trek accordingly. I pulled off the side of the highway between Madras and Warm Springs right around 8 am. As I pulled off, I noticed half a dozen or so cars doing the same. We all got out of our cars, pulled out our viewing boxes and waited.

The sky was clear, and over the next 10 minutes or so we watched as the sun disappeared and darkness set in. Wows, oohs and aahs were heard from the 15 to 20 of us. Totality lasted a minute or two and then the sun slowly reappeared.

All total, the experience lasted 15 to 20 minutes.

Then we all got in our cars and drove away.


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