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From the Team: Robin's Solar Eclipse

At Anderson Acoustics, our team is our greatest asset.

Alongside an internal mentoring programme and regular training and development opportunities, our people are encouraged to consider their goals and aspirations at a personal level, as well as professional. Recently, Robin took annual leave to travel to America to witness the solar eclipse. With his permission, we are sharing his personal account of that experience.

“Describe the Eclipse?

Let’s get one thing straight. No matter what, nothing you ever read, see, watch, or hear will give you a proper baseline of what to expect from a total solar eclipse. Even if you have seen a partial solar eclipse, what occurs at totality is far and away a vastly different phenomenon. A partial eclipse is like looking at a still frame from your favorite film. A total solar eclipse is like actually watching the film itself, for the very first time. A partial eclipse is like sitting on a trailer as it’s slowly pulled by a tractor. A total solar eclipse is like taking a ride in a fighter jet and breaking the sound barrier. This is the magnitude of difference between the two events.

As the partial eclipse builds toward a total eclipse, with the moon obscuring more and more of the sun every minute, your surroundings begin to change with increasing speed and intensity. The wind picks up, racing across the land as you become acutely aware that the temperature is lowering, and fast. The ambient light shifts, and becomes ever closer to the feel of dusk, but this twilight is different. It is as if there is a heavenly spotlight above, casting a dim glow over the area as if it were a grand stage. This effect becomes more and more pronounced as the remaining sun reduces further.

At the moment the sun becomes a pure crescent sliver, smaller than any moon you’ve ever seen, your body starts to instinctively react to the imminent event. The air becomes electric, and exhilaration builds, as you know deeply and intuitively that something tremendous is about to occur. You also come to the realization that nothing can and nothing will prevent the impending and incredible sequence that is about to unfold.

The sun wanes nearing totality and breathes a flash of light at the outer edge, like an explosion. This is the last vestige of sunlight, about to be covered by the moon. It swells bright and shimmering, and then collapses in on itself, disappearing just as fast as it came.

Your senses are about to be thrown into pandemonium.

The light of day that once surrounded you is cast away in a manner like a dimming light switch extinguishing a light bulb. Darkness descends and envelopes everything around you, save for the horizon, which glows a beautiful orange and red gradient in every direction.

Then you see it….

A ring of pure energy, like a perfect circular lightning bolt that flashed into view and somehow remained without fading away, is suspended in the sky above. It exudes a color that you have never before seen in your life, for nothing on this planet can output true solar intensity. It glows brighter than any neon lights, and pulses as if it were a living thing. The center of the ring is a void, pitch black, a complete representation of nothingness.

The ring of radiant energy seemingly appears larger in the sky than any sun or moon you’ve ever witnessed. Extending out of the ring are beautiful wisps, like perfect strands of flowing silk fanned out on top of still water. These pure white wisps slowly wave and dance off the edge of the ring, never standing completely still. You can see red shapes at the very edge which you later learn are solar flares as big as the earth.

The scene you are now a part of is so foreign, it feels like you have been teleported to an alien planet. The eclipsed sun, without any direct angular light reaching your location, still completely overpowers and dominates both the moon and the earth. But it does not stop there.

It overpowers you. The experience becomes shatteringly emotional and visceral. You make cries of joy and excitement that you never actually choose to make. They are simply drawn out of you by the sheer grandeur of the spectacle in the sky above.

The beauty of the total eclipse cannot be understated. You cannot possibly imagine the awe that results from witnessing it with your own eyes until you have done so. It is as if the universe has pulled back the curtains to reveal something sacred, allowing us to gaze upon a hidden secret for the first time.

You feel like you are being offered a gift that you can only catch a fleeting glimpse of, for it is the rarest of sights, and a treasure to behold. In a way, you feel as though what you are seeing was never meant to be seen by human eyes at all. As much as you want the moment to continue, and persist, it begins to end all too quickly. 2 and a half minutes have passed in a heartbeat.

The light at the edge of the ring explodes into a flash once more, and daylight returns just as fast as it was struck out before totality.

Smiles, cheers, applause, and happiness wash over you and all of your companions. You have all shared something truly special, that you will never, ever in your life forget. The epic cosmic scope of the event strikes at so many chords. It resonates on an emotional level, a philosophical level, a spiritual level, and leaves you feeling the afterglow of adrenaline that you just experienced the greatest show that our solar system has to offer from the vantage point of this Earth. For a generation that is rarely shocked, this was truly amazing, brilliant and wonderful.

I am already planning to go to Texas in April of 2024. I implore you to do anything you can to experience a total solar eclipse. Once you’ve seen it you’ll understand. I compared it to having a child. Everyone can tell you what it’s like to be in the delivery room to see your first child being born but until you do it’s just words. I hope I’ve said enough of them to spark your curiosity.

Thank you to Anderson Acoustics for helping me do this. It was worth everything it took to experience it, and a magnitude more.”

Image from NASA.

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