The first time I experienced a solar eclipse was over 20 years ago. I was 13 and I had my sight.

Since then, I have completely lost my vision and thought my first eclipse would also be my last. 

On Aug. 21, millions of people watched as the moon passed in front of the sun, creating a solar eclipse.  In some places, it was completely dark for more than 2 minutes.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was one of those places.

Luckily, my family and I got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event and in Hopkinsville. And I will never forget it thanks to the teams at AT&T, Aira and Georgia Tech.

Leading up to Aug. 21, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In middle school I joined my classmates out in the schoolyard, watched through a tiny hole in the middle of a piece of cardboard and was excited to see something so rare.

This time, my "viewing" device was a little more high tech.

With my Aira agent on call to describe the scene and the Georgia Tech sonification team's memorable soundtrack, the experience came together.

My family and thousands of other skygazers surrounded me. We watched for hours as the moon inched in front of the sun, until 1:24 p.m. CST…when it got completely dark.

It was anything but quiet, though. People were excited. You could hear the “oohs” and “ahhs.”

Hearing my nephews' descriptions of what was happening, paired with the description of their expressions while feeling the coolness of the air and excitement building around me, is something I'll never forget.

My Aira operator Amy and the AT&T connection let me paint a picture in my mind of what was happening in the sky.  Her descriptive words while watching via my smart glasses, led me on a journey unlike any I’ve experienced before.

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James Boehm - Aira Explorer

James Boehm
James Boehm Aira Explorer