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Total Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024


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29 minutes ago, NorEastermass128 said:

Anyone else feel like they’re in a post KU hangover?  Back to work tomorrow too…

With maybe a hint of solar retinopathy (some bilateral eye pain)... transiently felt the same after 2017... apparently I'm not alone, Google trends for "solar retinopathy":

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52 minutes ago, NW_of_GYX said:

Great point. The eclipse experience was an open door for millions to share in our collective humanity. That’s why people love it so much, largely because that door is rarely opened in our current society. Imagine if responsible use of psychedelic drugs was the norm. World would be a better place. 

100% agreed.  Everything in moderation & responsibility (as you noted) - but agree completely and well put.

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1 hour ago, Typhoon Tip said:

It wasn't completely like night though.  We were in totality, no doubt, but it was more apt to suggest it was like that 30 minutes passed sunset, the dim side of dusk on a summer evening.  

I don't think it ever gets dark as night in all directions  Of course you were near the southern limit of totality so just a few miles to your south that final "light switch" never went out.  I assume right at centerline it is the darkest as the distance is greater to the sunlight on  either side.  That light switch effect is amazing because it happens so fast.  Even that last .25% of sunlight is so strong that until the 2nd contact there is not much to see except that sliver through the glasses. Then bam, it all happens!. At my location it was a 98% partial and my friend who was up was not very impressed.  Too much hype for what, the light just got a bit dimmer but really nothing of note to see.  It was a bit difficult to tell locals that they had to make that 45 mile trip north.

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Now that I've had twenty-four hours to reflect, time for a debrief. This whole thing felt like tracking a KU with an especially long lead time. I've been eyeing this eclipse for years and had made tentative plans to crash in Tupper Lake, NY, if the weather looked obliging--always iffy in April. For weeks I agonized over the models, despite knowing that the outputs were likely shite. But late last week it looked like high pressure would be more or less in charge, so I pulled the trigger and drove up the day before.

Yesterday morning dawned clear, though a cursory review of the satellite looked a bit iffy with cirrus and denser clouds entering western NY. I went for a jog into town to observe the pre-eclipse goings-on. Tupper did a good job prepping, with designated parking and viewing areas and free bus shuttles. We even had EMS messages pushed to our phones. There were a lot of people, but I got the sense that the numbers were below initial expectations, perhaps because of the cloud forecast. And sure enough, during my jog a milky cirrus deck came across the sky. The sun was still quite visible, but not crisply defined. As the morning progressed I resigned myself to the likelihood that this would not be a perfect situation for viewing and that I could likely dispense with seeing Baily's Beads and the so-called diamond effect. This was disheartening, but I still thought the experience would be cool. I just hoped that the heavier cloud cover would hold off. 

Around 1:45, my hosts and I drove the gator from their camp down to their boathouse and set up chairs on the dock on the Raquette River. We cracked some brews and chatted and called to the other watch parties on neighboring docks, and to my surprise the sky started to clear. Reviewing COD, sure enough there was a narrow channel of clear sky between the cirrus canopy and the heavier clouds. Could we actually pull this thing off?

The show started right on time at 2:12. A quick squint through my glasses revealed an ever so small but distinct incursion in the sun's bottom right quadrant. This progressed quickly and by 2:45 my host quipped that the sun looked like Pac Man. I don't recall exactly when we noted the temperature dropping, but it became quite palpable by 3:00, as did the general greying down and dimming of the light. The birds seemed to notice, too, as the swarm of songbirds that had been gaily assailing our ears subsided into silence.

Excitement really started to mount around 3:15. It was quite chilly. I looked up and saw there was clear blue sky with beautiful fox tail clouds on the western horizon and it finally sank in that I was going to get the real deal full course eclipse experience with all the trimmings. I actually gasped, "I can't believe it. We're going to pull this thing off!" At about this point, we noticed a sudden sharp breeze kick up out of the west and run down the river.

At 3:20, a peek through the glasses showed the sun was almost gone. It was quite cold and a low chroma grey had settled over the landscape. The wind slackened to utter stillness. The woods on the far bank became less distinct, just a mass of dark grey treetop silhouettes. My hosts thought it remarkable how light it still was, even with most of the sun blocked. They told me later they assumed that totality was not going to be much different. Oh how wrong that proved to be. At 3:23, I drew their attention towards to clouds to the west, which looked rather ominously dark--"like a big storm's kicking up" as my host said.

At 3:24, totality set in. I didn't expect the light to change so fast. That shadow galloped over us, and with it cheers could be heard echoing down the length of the river. The sun strangely and feebly yellowed, flashed and disappeared and the black hole burst forth from its heart. This elicited general gasps, clapping, and appeals to a higher power from all in attendance, and the most awe-inspiring spectacle I've ever seen was under way. How to adequately describe it? A coal-black heart of darkness wreathed with feathers of light in a deep twilit heaven, planets tom-peeping amid thin gossamer ribbons of cirrus, a rich gold sunset along the eastern horizon where the river dumps into the lake. I was stunned into silence, while my host on the flip side seemed to be experiencing a prolonged and quite plangent orgasm of sorts, emitting sobs and a string of high-pitched "oh-my-gods" through the whole thing. 

We got the whole shebang. At about 7 o'clock on the moon's surface, one could see a reddish eruption from the sun, a pillar of plasma many times the size of the planet I was observing it from. Then, moments later, sparkling, sharp scintillations, shards of brilliant light ringing and magnified by the black of the moon. I don't know if this was the fabled diamond ring effect, but whatever it was it put the whole show over the top.

Then, to the west, the horizon began to brighten, and just as the shadow had encroached at palpable velocity, the distant clouds brightened, and them thin cirrus wisps nearby, and just as quickly as it came, the sun burst back out and flooded us with brilliant, cold light.

My host's 90+ year old parents observed the eclipse with us as well and agreed it was the most sublime three minutes of their time on this earth. I feel so fortunate to have witnessed it. I furthermore hope to catch a two-fer in Florida 2045: a totality viewed via the stadium effect of a major landfalling hurricane. Is that so much to ask?

 

 

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So, let's talk about eclipse day. Long post (surprise!). After a nice homemade breakfast at our B&B in central NH (Coppertoppe), my wife and I left around 8:30 am and while heading up 93 we could see that a nice delay had started 20 miles N of us on 93 at the dreaded Franconia Notch area, where 93 goes to one lane in each direction. So we ditched off onto 112 (NW) then 116 (NE) to 93 north of the Notch and then traffic wasn't bad the rest of the way up to Pittsburg, NH, the northernmost town in NH, just about guaranteed to have clear skies and well into totality (3:15 seconds of it). Ride took about 3 hours vs. 2:20 on a typical day.

We filled up the gas tank (important for later on) and headed to Buck Rub Pub & Lodge, which had great food (poutine was awesome) and had set up a viewing area outside for the event, where everyone set up their lawn chairs and blankets - with drink service!  Last pic is of my wife and I and the event area on their lawn.  Met some very nice people from MA/NH who were there including one who was playing a great eclipse playlist on the outdoor speaker they had and her nephew had an amazing photo/video setup and allowed us to take a few pics of his viewfinder.  Shared the best one here, below, which shows the "diamond ring" feature and shared one of my crappy pics of the ecipse near 75% - can't really even tell as the light "filled in" what was missing - pics weren't my main goal, though - being enveloped in the experience was.  

And then the main event. It was simply mind blowing watching the moon blocking more and more of the sun's rays, filling the sky with an eerie, high contrast light that kept dwindling and slowly lowering the ambient temperature. I had experienced about 75% totality in 2017 and that was cool, but not "amazing" - however, "amazing" can't hold a candle to what we saw, especially at that moment the eclipse went from 99.9% to 100.0% and everything went mostly dark (not pitch black, but like 25-30 minutes after sunset) and it was about 10F cooler than the ~55F temp before the eclipse with everything becoming quite still and silent. It was breathtaking, including the otherworldly pink prominence, made of hot plasma extending several "Earths" from the sun's surface - the pic below shows it and we hope the guy we met will share his photos of that soon. Totality >>>>>>> Partial.

We decided to hang out with our new friends for awhile after the eclipse was over, including an impromptu karaoke eclipse session, featuring my wife belting out "Me and My Bobby McGee" with the our new friends. Was actually quite well done! With things winding down by about 5:30 pm we left for our B&B, hoping waiting would allow traffic to clear some. Nope.

Then began our 8.25 hour odyssey across NH/VT - there's an entertaining Reddit thread linked below on this. We were expecting it to be maybe 4-6 hours given the huge numbers of people heading back to wherever they came from , but this became a serious cluster, as the NHDOT really screwed things up from I've heard and read. It took maybe 3 hours to get down towards Bethlehem, NH, via 120/2/135/116/142 - all back roads since US3 and I-93 were parking lots, partly due to the old Franconia Notch bottleneck. It then got worse as they closed exits 39 and 38 off of 93 because they supposedly didn't want some of the rural side roads being overrun and even closed some of those small roads all of which led to it taking some people 5-6 hours to navigate <5 miles of 93 at the Notch and led us to waste 3 more hours moving about 5 miles, just trying to even get to 93 near there - with cell service being largely out greatly exacerbating the problem, as one couldn't figure out what alternates were closed/open/moving. People were reportedly peeing anywhere off the road they could (or in cups) and many simply got out of their cars, while others ran out of gas. Complete shitshow - that ~3 hour segment was the worst traffic I've ever been stuck in. Ever. And luck played a huge role, given the lack of cell service, as one couple staying at our B&B only took about 5 hours to get back from Pittsburg (they went more west through VT staying further from 93), while another couple at our B&B took over 9 hours to get back from Coleyville which is15 miles south of Pittsburg, plus they left right after the eclipse. Fortunately, we did hit an open gas station after about 4 hours of slow driving and were able to use their bathroom (with a line of about 20 in it) and then made one good decision 6 hours into our ordeal, as we decided, after moving 2 miles in 2 hours approaching 142, that we would take 142N just to be moving instead of trying to brave 142S to 93S, which we heard took people 3-4 hours to negotiate - and then we get into the clear got some cell service and noticed that we might be able to take 302E then 116S, then 113W (all through the White Mountain National Forest) to bypass 93 and get to our B&B in Hebron. It actually worked with my wife doing yeoman work on the navigation and me somehow surviving that much driving and it "only" took 2.25 hrs vs. the 3-4 it likely would've taken if we had tried to get to 93. They should've implemented "contraflow" like they do in hurricane evacuations, reversing flow on 93N (for about 8 miles) to give 2 lanes heading south - would've likely averted at least some of the mess and 93 and the side roads. Oh well. Fortunately, we made it home in ~6.25 hrs this afternoon (vs. 5.25 hrs heading up on Sunday). Having said all that, I'm sure we'll get over that crappy drive and always treasure experiencing a total eclipse. See you all in Spain in 2026 for the next one (or Greenland).

https://www.reddit.com/r/newhampshire/comments/1bzjjoy/what_fing_rrd_decided_that_preventing_traffic/

May be an image of eclipse

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May be an image of twilight and eclipse

May be an image of 8 people and text

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We ended up driving around the car blocking exit 38 and took the alternate route anyway.   We weren’t alone either.  When 112 hit 93 we had clear sailing all the way home   We were in that cluster described above on 93 South for 3 hours and arrived home at 4AM.  Exit 39 was legit blocked.  Exit 38 seemed an ad hoc decision and we took the chance and at least got home before dawn.

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We were in Island Pond, VT. We were staying near Plymouth, NH. Took RT 25 west then up 91. Busy getting there, but it was moving. 

Stayed right on the waterfront on the lake, probably a thousand other people there in our area. Was awesome. Kind of made me feel that all the stress and day to day things in life really are inconsequential in the big picture. Sad in a way now that it's over, considering the build up. 

Traffic bad on the way back, took 3.5 hours for something that is 2. Still totally worth it!

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12 hours ago, Typhoon Tip said:

We were picking up a buddy in Concord NH, then destined to N VT.  That sort of limited our ability to choose routes and so there we were ... in the Notch, Canon on the left, the Lafayette sisters on the right, car fronts nearly tappin' car butts the entire 12 or whatever miles of bottle necked nimrod civil-engineering that is through there. 

Took us ~ 2 hr and 15 min to squeeze through but then 75 mph on the other side the rest of the way up. We made it in time, though.  We were going to hit Lyndon State University/college but we were cutting it close; St Johnsbury area was well enough inside the totality region and would do just fine.  Pulled off for a random meadow right around about 2:pm.  10 minutes later there were many cars pulled over with us.  Small families here ... nerds with telescopic lens tech there.  One dude had a welder's mask that looked just exactly like a Storm Trooper's helmet.  

The dimmer switch turning down became noticeable around 40% ... we all seemed to agree.  It was subtle yet palpably,  a "weird looking day light" permeated the ether of air and sky from that point onward. That's what really stood out, that eerie kind of sun light still shining. The air seemed to almost shimmer with a silvery translucence.  My friend leans in, "It's like the sun shining on Mars"    ...Around that point, ... nearing 60%, we noticed that sun on your face and arms, though still shining, delivered almost no discernible heat sensation.  May as well have been as impersonal as a flashlight ... Slowly the dimming continued. 

just then... nearing ~ 95% eclipse we saw a remarkable sight. The shadow of the moon darkening the SW-W horizon.  The day was so fantastically lucky, too.  For although it was entirely clear over head and around the vicinity of the sky that enfeebling sun was located, a high layer cirrus existed just to the S. It proved a rather discrete edge where on one side, pale sun-lit clouds disappeared on the other into a darkened deeper blue abyss. This line of shadow extended above the clouds to space,and below in the air to the ground.  I wonder if we would have noticed it if not those clouds enhancing the contrast. As we stood there amazed by that spectacle of like divine scale ... suddenly, the thumb and finger on the dimmer switch turned the dial the rest of the way all at once, and light was abruptly gone.  The whole crowd erupts in cheering and applauding. 

It wasn't completely like night though.  We were in totality, no doubt, but it was more apt to suggest it was like that 30 minutes passed sunset, the dim side of dusk on a summer evening.  

And yes it is true... the temperature crashed some 10 or 15 F.   It was 64 on the dash when we rolled up.  About 3 minutes after totality ended and the lights in the grand auditorium had risen like a minute past final curtain call, we spun tires to get the hell ahead of the traffic tsunamis going the other way...  The dash thermometer was 49.

Venus and other stars were visible in the navy blue-block sky surrounding the blackest black you can imagine, about the size of your thumb nail at arm's lengh.  It was a black hole. Perfectly circular, demarcated by a fuzzy umbra of light emanating in all directions. The corona.  I thought of a Quasar in the moment..heh.  There was a tiny orange-red diamond of light, just a pin prick in size around the SE quadrant during totality - we later learned this may have been a Prominence, maybe even a CME underway.  

Just f'n wow man.    

 

This is the perfect description-- and you know what else it reminds me of (minus the corona of course).... the black lunar eclipse of December 1982.  Because El Chichon had just erupted a few months prior, this was the darkest lunar eclipse ever seen.  The moon looked like a black hole in the sky, all the larger because the eclipse reached totality two hours before sunrise.  It was darker than the surrounding sky and the blackest black I had ever seen.  In contrast to the July 1982 total lunar eclipse which was one of the brightest ever seen where the moon was a bright orange color.

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9 minutes ago, Ginx snewx said:

Great stories.  I am pretty amazed more people didn't take a vacation day Mon and stay up there until the traffic died. I would absolutely die in 11 hr traffic. 

This was the post eclipse traffic on 89 south between exits 7 and 6 at 7:30 on the 8th.  It was crazy.  I couldn't imagine sitting in that, I would go nuts.

IMG_4116.jpg

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I'm sitting here reading all the great experiences of totality.  Over the past month I had been driving people crazy with...you just have to see it.  Many people that are not into things did take my advice and headed into totality. 

I read RU848789 traffic post with interest since he said at Coppertop B and B which is a couple miles from where I live. Leading up to the eclipse I thought NH did a poor job in preparing for the incoming traffic.  I wished they had set up contraflow through Franconia Notch in the one lane area.  It is interesting to go back and read my post the day before the eclipse.  Fortunately many locals took my advice and went west of 25, up along the Conn River on the NH side and made it up to Lyndonville and beyond with light traffic both ways.  

========================================================= 

Solar Eclipse Tomorrow. Peak coverage time 3:30pm

I wanted to update the group  one more time about the solar eclipse. The weather is looking good but there might be some cloudiness coming in during the afternoon. This cloudiness will be the high-thin type.

In the Newfound Area, this will not be a total eclipse. If you’re not going to travel north any area around the lake is good to view it. I would stay in your yard as long as you have afternoon sun. It will get somewhat darker and with eclipse glasses you will slowly see the sun eaten by the moon as the moon passes in front of it. Although we will have 97 to 98% of the sun covered at maximum around 3:30 pm the sky will stay surprisingly bright. You will not be able to see planets or stars nor the super cool effects that they will see under totality 45 miles north of the lake. Locally most people will find it somewhat interesting but I think will end up saying “What was all that hype for?” Anyone traveling north will say, “Wow I never thought it would be nearly that cool!

If you decide to travel north and get under the full shadow of the moon it is a whole different story. Either you get under the moon's full shadow or you don’t. It is a very sharp line and makes all the difference. The problem is going to be perhaps the worst traffic in NH history. Lack of facilities like gas, restrooms food service, and very limited and overwhelmed cell service. So plan accordingly. Avoid Franconia Notch. If it were me I would head up to the Plymouth traffic circle and head northwest on Rt 25 and then up along the Connecticut River. Cross over one of the bridges into Vermont. Perhaps there will be less traffic if you stay on the NH side until Monroe and then cross over into Vermont. Head up to St Johnsbury on Rt 5 or Rt 91. Anyplace northwest of there is good. The further north and west a longer and darker eclipse. It is going to be a warm spring day and people in the totality area may be having driveway barbecues etc. Perhaps bring a few six packs or some $$ and ask if you could just pull in their driveway to watch. Who knows they may even offer you or the kids a potty break.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, mreaves said:

This was the post eclipse traffic on 89 south between exits 7 and 6 at 7:30 on the 8th.  It was crazy.  I couldn't imagine sitting in that, I would go nuts.

IMG_4116.jpg

I have trouble with 3 cars at a stop sign here in hickville

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54 minutes ago, Ginx snewx said:

Great stories.  I am pretty amazed more people didn't take a vacation day Mon and stay up there until the traffic died. I would absolutely die in 11 hr traffic. 

Yeah it would have been an obvious solution but so many of us planned NNE for the eclipse on relatively short notice.  I checked a week out and there was stuff available but in southern NH and not closer.  To complicate things the well meaning small towns had no experience or enough people to manage the flow out of town-added 2 hours to our trip.  Finally, NH DOT didn’t seem to give a shit.  Hindsight is always better I guess.  When we drove around the barrier vehicle's on exit 38 we encountered another problem-one 24 hour gas station (thankfully we didn’t need gas then) fully automated with no way to get into the bathrooms.   I went behind it and peed in an absolute emergency.  No place for my wife .  We ended up pulling off 93 after we got back on after the lane closures and stopped traffic and the place was mobbed-at 2:15AM.   What I noticed at the place was how nice everyone there was to each other.  Maybe there’s hope for the future….

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34 minutes ago, Ginx snewx said:

I have trouble with 3 cars at a stop sign here in hickville

It is interesting that so many people were just so awestruck that it didn’t matter.  Love that.  People like, yeah so what, that was the coolest thing I’ll ever see, etc.

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3 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

It is interesting that so many people were just so awestruck that it didn’t matter.  Love that.  People like, yeah so what, that was the coolest thing I’ll ever see, etc.

I would have probably stayed a day...but yeah I don't think it would have bothered me all that much. 

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3 minutes ago, CoastalWx said:

I would have probably stayed a day...but yeah I don't think it would have bothered me all that much. 

Yeah stay the next day is the best move but it’s funny to see the largest traffic jam in NNE history and the lack of people complaining about it.  The only ones really struck by it were the people not in it :lol:.

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7 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah stay the next day is the best move but it’s funny to see the largest traffic jam in NNE history and the lack of people complaining about it.  The only ones really struck by it were the people not in it :lol:.

As one who was stuck for 8+ hours in the 12/13/07 Boston traffic nightmare snowstorm...it can't get worse lol. That was not a once in a lifetime event as far as snow goes lol.

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22 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

It is interesting that so many people were just so awestruck that it didn’t matter.  Love that.  People like, yeah so what, that was the coolest thing I’ll ever see, etc.

I think that there was enough communication about what to expect for traffic that people were ready for it or at least resigned to dealing with it.

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12 minutes ago, mreaves said:

I think that there was enough communication about what to expect for traffic that people were ready for it or at least resigned to dealing with it.

Yeah thats a good point.  Being mentally prepared for it is half the battle with traffic.  I can't think of any other event where people are like "I just saw it and then waited in traffic for 10 hours... and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat."

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5 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah thats a good point.  Being mentally prepared for it is half the battle with traffic.  I can't think of any other event where people are like "I just saw it and then waited in traffic for 10 hours... and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat."

Only one for me was Coventry VT in 2004.  12-20 hours of stopped traffic on 91N (essentially a big party), and then everyone parked and walked 20 miles to get to the phish festival.  That experience alone was one I'd sign up for in a heartbeat.

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Awesome pics everyone! I drove north on rt 3 and pulled over on the side of the road in North Stratton at a big leechfield site. Super flat area, great view. Shared it was a couple in their 80s and a younger man in his 20s. The older couple didn't have glasses so we all shared. I had a blast. And when totality happened, you could hear clapping and cheering from everyone else in general area. 

A double ups tractor trailer was driving by when totality hit and it got dark. The driver immediately pulled over and jumped out to watch. He was ecstatic.

I think the other amazing thing about this eclipse is that even though there were so many people crowded in together and traffic was a disaster, everyone was really happy and positive. So weird to hear people talking about being stuck for hours in traffic but to be so up beat about the whole thing and saying how it was worth it and they would gladly do it again.

Imagine if people were generally happy or in a decent mood all the time??? I think we would be so much kinder and gentler with each other

Can you imagine how different this forum would be if everyone were happier? This thread is amazing. So different from the weather threads where everyone is tearing into each other.

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1 hour ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah stay the next day is the best move but it’s funny to see the largest traffic jam in NNE history and the lack of people complaining about it.  The only ones really struck by it were the people not in it :lol:.

All true as it was incredible but I would want to hear from those people with young kids. Easy for some to say who basically walked outside though.

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