Our Pendleton Site Eclipse Story
Well we have the M. Elaine
Richardson, Roy Martin, Roxanne Sassard Bernard, and Mark Thies
story about the great 2017 eclipse for you... about our
misadventures, and a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Elaine, Roy, and Roxanne arrived early at our Pendleton eclipse site
and set up... first photo #1 below with two of our five Solar
An hour before the eclipse started Roxanne went to the restroom,
stumbled on a rock [on her bad heel] and broke her wrist and a tibia
bone. Elaine called me crying... Roxanne was a trooper and she told
Elaine to call me and tell me to finish capturing the eclipse... as
I wasworking 4 telescope systems by myself. [For the record this was
my 6th eclipse... and not my first rodeo] I got teary when she told
me what Roxanne said.
EMS and Elaine took her to the Oconee emergency room, leaving Roy to
work the cameras and telescope alone. He told me that he was scared
for Roxanne, and had never operated the telescope equipment before,
only the two cameras.
We contacted the team leader for our Walhalla Eclipse Team, Solar
Princess Mickey Hall, and she sent Mark Thies, Solar Princess
Evanne's husband, to fight the traffic back to Pendleton to help
Roy. Mark got a lesson on operating this telescope mount over the
phone and dug in.
After totality I called Mark and Roy... asked them how they did. Roy
and Mark were disappointed because they said that when totality
started, they completely lost the Sun... it just disappeared. But
they kept tracking and photographing anyway.
When their site's "disarrayed parts" were returned to me I recovered
the main telescope camera, and a Canon telephoto backup camera that
I had programmed to run automatically and mounted on the telescope..
The backup told the story... the next photo #2 below was what Roy
was dealing with 45 seconds before totality... [clouds moving left
to right]But then as he and Mark kept working they popped one of the
most remarkable photos of the diamond ring through high cirrus
I have ever seen in 47 years of chasing eclipses... photo #3. I had
always heard that high cirrus clouds can create an incredible filter
effect. Then followed by 12 more very nice totality shots with an
irregularly shaped corona, and with red prominences sprouting off
Roxanne is coming out of surgery now... Her surgeon said that they
are bracing the broken knee bone, and putting a plate in her wrist.
I'll see this Solar Princess later tonight. Her eclipse ems photo is
#5. And our other Solar Princess, M. Elaine Richardson, stayed by
her side until she came out of surgery!
And finally the capper... The President of the hospital came by her
room and when he found out she was on the 2017 South Carolina
Total Eclipse Team, suggested that that the nursing staff roll her
out in a gurney to see Totality while waiting for the surgeon to
come out of surgery!
So the moral of this story is... never, never give up. Keep pushing
forward like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Mark, Roy, Elaine, and
Roxanne certainly did.