Triple whammy at Yellowstone

Fifty years ago this month, on Sunday 16 August 1970, I enjoyed an unusual coincidence of events.  I was on a family holiday in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA.  We were staying in Canyon Village and went out to the canyon after supper, stopping at Artist Point, below the Lower Falls.

The Lower Falls, probably from Artist Point

The view is breathtaking, with the deep yellow canyon and the foaming falls.

To our surprise we suddenly noticed that the moon was missing a chunk.  We were witnessing an eclipse of the moon, though we had not known it was going to happen.  I have recently looked it up and found this information about it.

Some time later we saw some flickering lights in the sky, recorded in my diary as ‘faint vertical streaks, then an arc appeared and the streaks became brighter and changing’.  It was the aurora borealis, which are not commonly seen from Yellowstone, and I had never seen before, nor since.

I made a sketch of all this in my holiday diary.

Sketch from my diary

It was a triple whammy: the glory of Yellowstone, an eclipse of the moon, and the aurora borealis, all at once.

Yellowstone Canyon



About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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