School Bus Trip


As many visitors to the United States will know, the ubiquitous school bus is often pressed into service for great events.
Mount Wilson/Patrick Moore Noted Astronomer (now Sir) Patrick Moore, here seen chatting with us at Mount Wilson a few days before it, gave his advice for the Great Eclipse of 1991:- if the conditions are bad where you are, Never Give Up! We were to need that advice when our party, in a convoy of school buses, set off in the middle of a wet night, for Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island.
In the dim cold light of a rainy, misty dawn at the police road block on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea, where the road leads up to the observatories, a vote was taken to decide whether to stay, or push our school bus as rapidly as it could go, down to the Kona Coast, where conditions might be better. The vote was, to stay. At the last minute, the guards relented, we were allowed through; the buses continued half way up the mountain, stopping at about 7,000 ft altitude.
Putting it to a vote in the rain
On the mountain
The eclipse, seen through the misty cloud top, was beginning as we arrived. The Sun and Moon came together just above the mist, which was strengthening as the temperature sharply dropped (causing condensation). Most of the island, including the Kona Coast, had full cloud. We were among the lucky few who saw it, thanks to school buses and Patrick's reminder - "Never Give Up".
Success! Just a few of the cameras and telescopes

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