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The Total Eclipse In St. Clair MO

August 23, 2017 Featured Comments Off on The Total Eclipse In St. Clair MO

Today I’m staring a few eclipse photos from Monday. We decided to go to St. Clair Missouri. My husband had to work early that morning, we left around 10:39am stopping only for fuel. WE arrived in St, Clair around noon. Traffic seemed slightly heavier, though neither of us drive much beyond I-270 on a regular basis.

I’d studied the centerline and wanted to be near it.

The blue line represents the center of the 73-mile wide path of totality, thw red star the point where we were.
WE joined a few others in the parking lot of an old motel that is for sale.
It was bright and sunny at 1pm.
Seventeen minutes later is was dark and the temperature drop was noticeable,
The drive home was considerably longer, with only a few points we reached the speed limit. Everyone was cautious and patient.

Our round trip was about 5 hours — for less than 3 minutes of totality.  I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I saw the partial eclipse with a combination of my prescription glasses and eclipse glasses. During totality it was amazing.

We’re looking forward to April 8, 2024.

— St.Louis

 

Total Eclipse Today, Next One In 2024

August 21, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Total Eclipse Today, Next One In 2024

Today’s total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event. there hasn’t been an eclipse in the St. Louis region in the last 400 years. Carbondale IL, a 2 hour drive, is a good viewing spot today.  Can’t get out of work for this once-in-a-lifetime event?  Mark your calendar for Monday April 8, 2024. That’s right, another total eclipse will cross the United States, including Carbondale, IL

Yes, just 2,422 days until the next eclipse!

Those not in today’s path of totality will not experience the moon’s shadow the way the rest of us will. I tried on my solar glasses and to my eyes, with early cataracts, was a tiny spot. I’m not going to look up at the sun, today I want to experience day become night, and then back to day a couple minutes later. I want to feel the temperature drop.

This image shows how the total eclipse will go through part of the St Louis region.
Lots of areas in South St. Louis within the path of totality

Eclipse2017.org explains why you need to be within the grey path of totality:

Our task is to convince people who are not in the path of totality, that they simply must travel into the path, in order to see one of the most spectacular things they will ever see in their life. The task is difficult, because it is natural to believe that if one is “close” to the path, one will see something that is “pretty good”. But just as the person who only smells the meal outside the steakhouse remains hungry, so too do those who observe the eclipse from outside the path of totality end the day wondering what, indeed, all the fuss was about.

For those who choose to experience this eclipse outside the path, a partial eclipse is all they will see. Even if the sun is 99.9% eclipsed for these observers, they will not experience the full, jaw-dropping, knee-buckling, emotionally-overloading, completely overwhelming spectacle that is totality.

Partial eclipses are somewhat interesting, in that with the proper eye protection (which MUST be used at all times), one can see the moon moving slowly across the face of the sun. But there is no climax, no culmination of the event, no exhilarating moment of true beauty in the sky above them. The event is not memorable, not life-changing, not anything to inspire one to join the ranks of “umbraphiles” – “shadow-loving” persons who travel the world to the most remote locations, in anticipation of experiencing those few fleeting seconds of wonderment inside the shadow of the moon.

For those outside the path, there is no dramatic moment of totality, no dance of Baily’s Beads around the edge of the moon’s disk, no intense darkening of the skies, no stars and planets suddenly revealing themselves against an impossible twilight, no corona flashing into view (the otherworldly beauty of which makes even veteran total eclipse observers gasp in amazement), and no primordial fear which sinks ever so slightly even the modern heart. There is no pitch-blackened disk of the sun, no discernable temperature drop, no impossible nighttime during the day, no scintillating chromosphere or glorious prominences, no 360-degree sunset effect around the horizon, no uncontrollable shouts of emotional overload from the assembled crowd, and no lingering post-eclipse sensation of certainty that you have just done one of the coolest things you’ll ever do in your life.

A partial eclipse is interesting but forgettable, while a total eclipse is a memorable, life-changing event which burns itself into memory – and never fades. And so we, who have seen this sight, ask you to join us on this momentous day, and do everything you possibly can to see it with us. But you must remember that “close” is not close enough; in order to see the eclipse in all its glory, you simply must…

Get thee to the path!

Later today I’ll watch video taken by others of the eclipse, but I plan to be within the path of totality — as close to the centerline as i can get. Can’t drive an hour or more? Get to South St. Louis.

Based on yesterday’s non-scientfic Sunday Poll I’m preaching to the choir.

Q: Agree or disagree: Meh…solar eclipse…I won’t be in the path of totality tomorrow. No biggie.

  •  Strongly agree 3 [12.5%]
  • Agree 2 [8.33%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [8.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [4.17%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 4 [16.67%]
  • Strongly disagree 11 [45.83%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [4.17%]

Enjoy the experience!

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Will You Be In The Path of Totality Tomorrow?

August 20, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will You Be In The Path of Totality Tomorrow?
Please vote below

Tomorrow is the big day, the total solar eclipse.

For months, state highway officials from 14 states have been meeting regularly via conference call to plan for – or more importantly try to head off– what could be the largest traffic jam in U.S. history Monday, when an estimated 200 million people will be within a day’s drive of the path of the first total solar eclipse in 99 years.

The roughly 70-mile-wide path of totality – where the moon will block 100 percent of the sun – stretches from Oregon to South Carolina.

In Oregon, where the totality begins at 10:16 a.m. at Depoe Bay, officials have ordered extra-wide-load trucks off the highways through Tuesday to ease congestion, and in Madras, which has been identified by many experts as one of prime viewing locations, the National Guard is being called in to help control traffic.  (Post-Dispatch)

It has been impossible to escape talk of tomorrow’s eclipse. Today’s poll seeks to see how interested readers are in the eclipse.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Results tomorrow with another post on the eclipse.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Does the Opposite of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

August 18, 2017 Featured, Planning & Design, Transportation Comments Off on St. Louis Does the Opposite of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Last month I wrote about a new book, an excellent design guide, see Reading: Urban Street Stormwater Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials. I loved it so much I asked the publisher to send me the rest pf the hardcover guides: Transit Street, Urban Bikeway, and Global Street. All information in the printed guide books is available for free online.

There are some here trying to get the City of St. Louis to become a member city of the National Association of Transportation Officials (NATCO). Who you ask?

NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.

We do this by:

  • Communicating a bold vision for 21st century urban mobility and building strong leadership capacity among city transportation officials.
  • Empowering a coalition of cities to lead the way on transportation policy at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Raising the state of the practice for street design that prioritizes people walking, biking, and taking transit.

Here’s their intro video:

Since St. Louis, and the region by extension, does the opposite of what NACTO recommends, we could benefit greatly if the city joined — and followed their lead. But I doubt the traffic engineers in the Streets Dept and the like-minded engineers at the Board of Public Service are willing to change the way things have always been done.

Peer cities like Indianapolis, Memphis, and Nashville are affiliate members. Click image for their member cities page

Again, see various departments fighting NACTO’s recommendations. In the coming months I plan posts showing the NACTO way vs the St. Louis way.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Are Mostly Comfortable With Small Arch Tram Capsules

August 16, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Readers Are Mostly Comfortable With Small Arch Tram Capsules
Visitors must step up into the tram cars. They put this step out to help me but we ended up moving it out of the way.

Tram rides to the top of the Gateway Arch began just over fifty years ago, on July 24, 1967. A few weeks later, 50 years ago. yesterday, a najor malfunction occurred:

An eight-car tram is in the north leg of the Gateway Arch descended about forty feet from the observation gallery and stopped, trapping thirty-six passengers in semi-darkness. From 6:40 to 8:15P.M. the passengers waited calmly to be freed. Arch personnel moved the train back up to the observation deck with a winch. and passengers climbed out, descending the fifty-foot spiral staircase to the elevator halfway down the arch. The train ran no more that evening, and others waiting for a ride were given refunds. 

An even more harrowing entrapment occurred a few years later when a party of four was left in a capsule after the last tram was thought to have been vacated. The door of their capsule did not open and the trash was “parked” for the night. Lights in the Arch were extinguished and the air vents were shut off. Their screams went unheard, so one of the passengers, using a knife to pry open the catch, succeeded in getting the doors open. He climbed out on a foot-wide beam and helped the others across to the stairs and safety.

I’ve been up in the Arch twice in my 27+ years in St. Louis — once pre-stroke and once post-stroke. Getting into and out of the capsule was a challenge post-stroke, but I can’t imagine having to walk down a spiral stair. Though I’ve done so on the Texas Eagle train.

Thankfully, as part of all the work being done at the Arch the Trams were given a major update, this should ensure years of reliable service.

The results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: I’m uncomfortable while riding the Arch tram due to the small capsules.

  • Strongly agree 5 [17.24%]
  • Agree 1 [3.45%]
  • Somewhat agree 5 [17.24%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [10.34%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [6.9%]
  • Disagree 8 [27.59%]
  • Strongly disagree 4 [13.79%]
  • Not Applicable/Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.45%]

More who voted are comfortable. I’ll go up a 3rd time once all the work, museum, etc are finished.

— Steve Patterson

 

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