Oh My Star
J. Dianne Dotson – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer – Oh My Star

Sometimes you can make total eclipse plans, and something goes wrong.

In our case, we headed up Interstate 15 as planned, to get to Idaho Falls in time for the eclipse. In the Nevada desert, north of Las Vegas, our car had other plans. In 104 degree heat (likely it was even hotter where we were), the car’s air conditioner blew out.

After making it back to a truck stop and waiting for AAA to try and help us out, we realized the trip would be in jeopardy. Once we finally had the car inspected, we found out the AC compressor was ruined. And its cost, prohibitive. We made a choice. We knew we couldn’t get it repaired then (it was late Saturday night by the time the car diagnosis happened), and we knew the cost would put a damper on the trip. I also realized even in the best case scenario of getting it fixed the next day, we might not make it to our final destination in time. And one thing was for certain: we could not travel through the desert with no AC.

So we returned home. We chose to leave Las Vegas before dawn to avoid the desert heat with no AC. As it happened, this gave us the chance to see the desert sky at night. The rumors are true: there is nothing else like it! Stars coated the sky, all the way to the horizon. And the tiniest sickle of a new moon appeared over jagged mountains as dawn began to glow. The sun rose over the Mojave Desert, and that was more than worth seeing. We made it home safely, most importantly.

And today we DID see the eclipse, albeit a partial one. The city’s libraries all had free events, with crafts for kids and docents on hand to answer questions. So we headed to a library with no clouds in the sky, our special eclipse glasses, and our sense of wonder.

The photo above shows the crescent-shaped leaf shadows cast by the sun in partial eclipse. A simple thing, and yet so remarkable. On the way home we saw a group of skywatchers in our neighborhood, jolly over the event.

So while we did not reach the path of totality, our spirits remained high, and we were able to see our star Sol get a bit of shade today.

Onward to Eclipse 2024!