Celestial Show Awes Robson Ranchers

Vicki Baker

Sweeping across North American, traveling roughly over 4,000 miles, yet just 115 miles wide. Entering Mexico from the Pacific, cutting diagonally from Texas to Maine before exiting over Eastern Canada into the Atlantic. Traveling through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Completing its continental course in a scant one and a half hour at speeds upward of 5,000 mph. Roughly 31.6 million people living in its path of totality, 12.8 million in Texas alone.

On April 8 Robson Ranch friends and neighbors looked to the skies. We gathered for this once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness the Great North American Solar Eclipse, a remarkable celestial event where the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the face of the sun, causing the midday sky to darken into dusk or darkness.

A few days prior, forecasters predicted the weather wasn’t looking good along a large part of the eclipse’s path. Clouds could get in the way, with the heaviest clouds expected in parts of Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth was pretty much a 50/50 shot. That morning the skies were heavily overcast. We crossed our fingers and hoped the cloud cover would burn off in time.

Then it happened. We got a lucky break. Fears of missing the astronomical event were put to rest when skies cleared moments before the eclipse started and remained cloudless until it continued on its path.

With the height of the eclipse just minutes away, we quieted and adjusted our glasses. Everyone looked upward as the moon started its slow trek, its bite out of the sun growing ever larger. Just before 1:42 p.m., the sky darkened, looking like dusk. Temperatures dropped several degrees. The arch of the sun slimmed and shifted. A cheer erupted as the eclipse reached its maximum extent, 99.82%, with only a sliver of the sun remaining visible behind the moon. Four minutes, 20 seconds ticked by. The sun then began reappearing as the eclipse left North America.

Experiencing the eclipse was beyond our expectations, making us think about the fundamental aspects of the universe. The forces of nature were live at work: the moon in conjunction with the sun and the Earth. And, by the way, they have a name for that. It’s called “syzygy.” It’s a real word. If you played it in Scrabble, you’d get 25 points. It means all three celestial bodies are in perfect alignment.