Students: John Duffield ’80, Peter Miller ’80
Staff: Jay Pasachoff, Phil Schierer (Tektronix)
Sponsor(s): National Geographic Society
ABC News coverage, anchored by Frank Reynolds
CBS Evening News, anchored by Walter Cronkite
A Memorable Eclipse Message Thread:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:14 pm (PST)
40 YEARS AGO TODAY — I found myself at Roy, Montana (pop. 108) in a partially snow covered field of grass and sagebrush, along with about 80 other individuals from all across the U.S. We had traveled in two buses from Lewistown, approximately 30 miles to the west, to escape a growing area of mid and high-level cloud cover that possibly threatened to mar a view of nature’s greatest celestial show: A total eclipse of the Sun. This would be the last total eclipse for the contiguous (48) states until 2017.
Fellow Bronxite, Glenn Schneider and I put together this expedition; Glenn and his parents, Ira and Elaine worked out all of the logistical details; my job was to find a site with clear skies. From Roy, we had a near-perfect view of 158 seconds of totality; an event that none of us who saw it will ever forget! I just can’t believe that it was 40 years ago!
And here’s how Walter Cronkite reported on this sky spectacular on the February 26th, 1979 edition of the “CBS Evening News.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6uVz5qMOWs
— joe rao
Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:51 am (PST) .…I have been similarly nostalgic today. My wife, 6-year old daughter and I set out
from Edmonton, AB on Feb. 24, overnighting in Saskatoon and then on a farm near
Goodlands, MB on the 25th. 1100 km, -10 to -20 deg. C, often snowing, so not a fun
road trip. Cloudy late at night, forecast tentatively clearing…
Morning of 26th, up before sunrise, cloud breaking up, on the road to drive westwards
towards clearer sky – found it, and watched from roadside just W of Pierson, MB.
Photos with a Pentax Spotmatic on Ektachrome – how times have changed….
The eclipse 1 Metonic interval later, Feb. 26 1998, was a good deal warmer – Curacao,
Always clear skies and safe travels to my many eclipsophile friends.Gord Falconer (1 annular, 10 clear totals, 2 cloud-outs)
Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:37 am (PST) .Memorable indeed!
B.t.w. the 1979 Total Eclipse found its way into the journal of the Jefferson County Historical Society, Madras, “The Agate” April 2017, online at
“One of the aims of the OSU Solar Eclipse Expedition was to observe and record the exact southern boundary”
My original account is at
That story is also mentioned in the eclipse book by Anthony Aveni from 2017..I was deeply impressed then but had been keeping focused on the measurement tasks assigned to me and my group of two co-observers.
Thus 12 years passed until my 2nd Total Eclipse on Mauna Kea – in solitude with my eclipse buddy Christian Wolter and a 5-inch Newtonian which we had lugged up to 3800m.
That one got me hooked – one could call it an epiphanical experience.
Being in an already outer-worldly (volcanic) surrounding at high elevation, the 3-dimensional structure of the solar system could really be felt.
It was a sensation of being immersed in space (only weightlesness was missing).
On Feb. 26 1998 I was in Curacao too, on Mar. 20, 2015 I enjoyed talking to Joe Rao on the AirBerlin AB1000 eclipse flight.Cheers
– Wolfgang https://twitter.com/dermuehle https://twitter.com/dermuehle
Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:19 am (PST) .This is a wonderful recollection, Joe. I still have the issue that you’ve
posted here. And I’m still kicking myself for not making 1979 my first
totality. I had to wait 12 more long years…