On Monday, August 21, 2017, members of the Minnesota Astronomical Society (MAS) and Belwin Conservancy converged at Belwin's J.J. Casby Observatory to witness a historic event: the 2017 eclipse, which was visible only in the United States.
MAS members David Truchot and Jon Hayman operated the Lunt and 130mm telescopes inside the J.J. Casby Observatory, giving approximately 80 attendees a safe and rare look at the sun as the moon passed in front of it.
David and Belwin Conservancy Program Manager Susan Haugh also made alternate interactive eclipse viewers out of cardboard, binoculars and whiteboards so that members could view the eclipse from outside the observatory.
In Minnesota, the eclipse peaked at 83 percent coverage at 1:07 p.m. CST. The clouds held off just long enough for the peak of the eclipse, but then rolled in and covered the sun for the remainder of the event.
Amateur astronomers Hayman and Truchot used the telescopes to take video and photographs of the eclipse and the sun. “We could actually see the sunspots on the crescent and even a bird through the clouds,” said Truchot.
Hayman was glad that so many people came together to witness the eclipse. “What was great is that folks were coming back to see the eclipse as it went through,” he said. “I think some may have come back 15 times!”
Watch: Video of the eclipse shot by David Truchot.