Total Solar Eclipse Experience

Phil Metzger – Research Scientist

Location: Bethpage, TN

Coordinates: 40° 26’ 46”N, 79° 58’ 56” W

Start time of totality: 1:27 PM (CDT)

Duration of totality: 2min 36s


Dr. Phil Metzger drove with three of his children to camp on a farm north of Nashville where totality would last for 2 minutes and 38 seconds. The farm gave campers a hayride to the top of a large hill where they could see the eclipse from a small clearing. This gave an excellent view of the “sunset” colors that spanned 360 degrees near the horizon during totality. They had a great view of the corona during totality, and they also observed the shadow bands moments before the eclipse on paper that was placed flat on the ground. Before and after totality they used a pair of certified eclipse-viewing glasses provided by NASA SSERVI to directly observe the progress of the eclipse. All the Metzgers agreed this was one of the most spectacular events they had ever observed and it was well worth the hours of driving to and from the centerline of totality. They have already decided to travel to the next total eclipse in North America in seven years.



The four Metzgers, Dr. Phil, Natalie, Jonathan, and Jessica, on the hayride to see the eclipse.


On the hayride ascending to the viewing location.


The eclipse event tee shirt from Wildflower Farms, where they camped in Tennessee.


In the clearing on the hilltop. The strange lighting is because illumination was reduced by the partial eclipse, but the sunlight was still directly from the sun’s direction, not diffusively spread from all directions by cloud cover as normally happens during reduced lighting conditions. This causes reduced light while maintaining sharp shadows, which our minds correctly interpret as strange.