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Woman who waited 16 years for the eclipse reflects on totality and the next one

Kay Wyatt has been waiting for the eclipse since she moved to the path of totality on the Oregon coast 16 years ago. For days, she and her husband, Steve, have been getting their home observatory in Otis ready, testing photo systems and setting up their telescopes just right. But nothing could have prepared Wyatt for what she saw when the moon finally slipped between her and our nearest star.

“We were so lucky,” she says breathlessly, sifting through her photos from the day. “It couldn’t have gone better” — and was worth every last second of prep and worry.

“Steve and I had it all choreographed,” Wyatt says. “We had put together — it must have been 100 — things we had to do. And each one had a time stamp. As Steve would holler out what was next, I would do it. I had just taken the last solar filter off our telescopes and I turned up to look at totality. The first thing I saw was the red chromosphere. It was just beautiful. And the corona popped out. And I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed.”

She pauses. “And then we just stood, and our breath was just taken away.”

The Wyatts are already thinking about the next eclipse, in 2024. “We have lots of friends in Texas,” Kay muses.

2017 Solar eclipse live updates: Weather, photos, traffic and more

The solar eclipse that will sweep across the United States Monday begins at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, noon Eastern, when the moon takes a bite out of the sun for viewers in Oregon. The eclipse will reach totality for coastal Oregon at 10:19 local time. Over the course of 90 minutes, the moon’s full shadow will zip across a 70-mile-wide, 3,000-mile-long path cutting through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina. Finally at 2:49 p.m. Eastern time, it will disappear off the coast of Charleston, S.C.

The partial eclipse will be visible throughout the continental United States.

We’ll be bringing you live updates from across the United States, with photos, video, drone footage, social media highlights, and reports from two dozen staff and freelance writers.