I wanted to share my incredible first solar eclipse experience with you for the contest: In August 2008 I set out to the deserts of China for the eclipse by myself and met some wonderful people along the way. To make a long story short I ended up with my taxi driver guide in a very small community near Dazhuang, China in Gansu Province northeast of Jiayuguan a few hours before the eclipse. Dazhuang was near the center line of the eclipse. There I met a Scottish-born journalist based out of Beijing and an eclipse and aurora enthusiast from Taiwan... both traveling separately as well. We scouted out a place in the desert dunes north of town along the side of a road. About 5PM we set up the equipment and waited for first contact. Shortly after first contact we noticed that we were attracting a following of local Chinese who had driven by on motorcycle. They were curious about what we were doing and we happily shared with them what was going on. It was amazing the response of our new friends and how happy they were to meet us and learn about the eclipse. Having lived abroad for many years, I am a firm believer that we when we travel outside our home country (in my case the US) we are all ambassadors of our respective countries. People make their impressions about our countries from how we act towards our hosts. It made my first eclipse all that much more special to know that we were fostering not only good new friendships but also showing how much fun astronomy can be.
Thank you very much for your consideration!
Pine Mountain, GA
The Moon biting into the Sun
New friends out on the Chinese desert
Jerry from Taiwan