|This striking shot of the eclipse in DC was captured by our friend and noted area photographer Bruce Guthrie|
However, my wife, Judy, had a mild case of eclipse fever, so I agreed to watch the rare phenomenon with her.
There were several viewing options in DC. Judy chose the National Archives building (believing rightfully that it would be less crowded than the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum).
The program outside the Archives, which would let viewers see the eclipse through one of the two telescopes there , was scheduled to run from 1 until 4 p.m.
|Judy checks out the eclipse|
Now as residents of the DC-area for more than 5 years, we were used to long lines. We just did what we usually end up doing in such situations - talking to those around us as a way to pass the waiting time more quickly.
Actually, there was an advantage to our wait time. The most dramatic view of the eclipse in DC was projected to be at 2:42. Observing the movement of the line, it appeared we would be near the viewing telescopes around that time.
|The viewing was one for the ages|
At 3:05, Judy and I finally stood in front of a telescope which would allow us to more closely see the first eclipse to involve the entire United States in 99 years.
And I must admit, as is so often the case when I listen to my wife, I'm glad I did. Could I have lived without seeing the eclipse? Of course. But the shared viewing reinforced something we had heard Washington Post chief movie critic Anne Hornaday say two days earlier when she appeared on an Inside Media program at the Newseum to talk about her new book Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies. Hornaday contended that some movies were best viewed with crowds of others. I now believed that true of eclipses, too.
Oh yeah ... one other thing. As members of the National Archives, we have come to know several people who work there and as we began walking down Constitution Avenue after our viewing, a pair of them said we should keep our glasses. They said the glasses should still be good to use when the next major eclipse is viewable in DC in about a decade. And based on my experience today, if I'm still here on the planet, I think I'll do just that.