Solar eclipse in IR Slow Shutter Speed (©Jill Puffer)

A total solar eclipse captured in Infrared

Author: Jill Puffer

The air was thick with anticipation and wonderment, this is the first total solar eclipse since 1979 to cast its shadow on Canadian soil and it crossed into southwestern Ontario shortly before 3:15 PM. There was a crowd of people in the park, in Stoney Creek, Province of Ontario, Canada. It is a small community within the big city of Hamilton, some 68 kms west of Toronto.

I, myself felt rather “electric”. I have only ever experienced partial eclipse’s but I had a sense that this was going to be “special”. There were words being uttered like “totality and darkness” that made one feel apprehensive and yet curious about such a “once in a lifetime event”. We were all dismayed at the overcast skies… how could this happen at such an exciting but at the same time, an unknown event.

Suddenly, amazingly the clouds parted and there was the beautiful blue sky and the dazzling sun, when suddenly the moon ever so slowly began casting its shadow on earth in covering the sun. Then, rather surprisingly, the cold set in and we were all shivering… the excitement of the moment, … of what we have been waiting for is here. Total darkness was upon us, birds stopped singing, the crowd became silent, dogs started whining and the cold was numbing.

It was happening. It was an emotional moment. I found myself with tears in my eyes at the beauty before me, so surreal. Here I was with throngs of other people experiencing something that felt truly “spiritual”. I am not a religious person by any means but I was affected by what I was feeling and seeing. We were all experiencing something so magical and the best part was that the community was all together. Some within the crowd were hugging and crying, one woman yelled out that it was her birthday. Couples were telling each other how much they loved them. An elderly couple held hands and looked into each other’s eyes but said nothing.

Total Solar eclipse in IR (©Jill Puffer)
Total Solar eclipse in IR (©Jill Puffer)

Slowly… the moment was passing and the sun began once again to shine upon us. The world was not ending and yet many of us felt different… as if we had been reborn? I know I did.

I shall never forget this experience. It is a „celestial phenomenon”, that offers people the chance to set aside their divisions for a moment and come together under the shadow of the moon.

It really makes you realize where you are in the universe and lucky we all are to be alive and experience such miraculous events with so many, without prejudice.