A central Iowa man will drive to Nebraska next week to see what will be his 18th total solar eclipse.
Retired school teacher Derryl Barr, of Indianola, first witnessed a partial eclipse in the late 1970s and since then, has traveled the world to see as many more total eclipses as possible.
“It’s something different than anything that you will encounter in your life and this is something that people will literally talk about for the rest of their lives,” Barr says. “People look askance when I say that because until you experience it, you can’t know. I’ve had several people tell me, after they’ve observed an eclipse, the first one, ‘Now, I understand.'”
For Iowans who are making the journey to Nebraska, Missouri or elsewhere to be in the “path of totality,” he suggests finding a place that’s high on a hill and look to the northwest as total eclipse time approaches.
“You should see a spot of darkness on the horizon and you’ll think for all the world, ‘Somebody’s getting rain over there,’ but you realize as it gets larger, very quickly, that you’re seeing right through it. It’s the shadow of the moon coming at you at 1,600 miles an hour. When that shadow hits, look back to the sky because a huge diamond ring forms in the sky.”
That “diamond ring” will only last about five seconds and then totality begins. Barr says when the diamond ring disappears, protective eyewear can be removed to see the eclipse with the naked eye. Once the sun begins to peek around the moon and shine again, Barr says that’s when eclipse glasses are to be used again.
Barr says a lot of people will understand why there has been so much attention given to the eclipse over the past few months. “Nothing impresses everyone and I’m certain there will be a few that say, ‘Huh, that wasn’t so great,’ but the vast majority are going to say, ‘Wow!'”
Barr taught school in North Platte, Nebraska, and plans to watch the eclipse with family and friends on a ranch in nearby Sutherland.
(Thanks to Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice)