Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse Day

August 21, 2017 - the day of the total solar eclipse (moon gets between the earth and the sun),  which traversed the USA from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast.  Though there have been many generic eclipses since then, reportedly the previous total eclipse to go from the west coast to the east coast across the USA was 99 years ago...about 1916. 

This one certainly was widely publicized, and it tempted many folks to flock to the 70-mile-wide line of totality - despite no assurances of good weather for viewing the celestial event.    Areas not within that narrow line were to be treated to a partial solar eclipse, where the moon only partially covers the sun.   Those are much more widely viewable.

We elected to stay home and view the partial eclipse with friends in the neighborhood...any excuse for a party!

Back in 1963, my dad and mom took me to Cadillac Mountain in Maine (near Bar Harbor) to see the eclipse from there.  It was magnificent.  While I don't have pictures, I have the memories - of the darkness at totality, the temperature change, the birds preparing for night, the change in insect noises, and so on.    But I used a small telescope and used a method of projecting the sun's image onto a piece of cardboard so as to not need to use viewing glasses - which were not as readily available back then.

This partial eclipse confirmed that partials do not afford the changes which I previously noted in the total eclipse "back in the day."  But the same telescope I used back then, once again served yeoman duty, and we - along with a number of other folks at the gathering - used the projected image as shown below, to safely view the eclipse without glasses.  It was fun - even though it only reached about 80 percent coverage.

Unfortunately, Mandy was not able to be everyday persona was front and center.  Our friends know my sartorial style...and I was not misgendered  (or more appropriately, was addressed as a male all afternoon.)  :-(

Projecting the image of the eclipse for safe viewing.

Just as the camera was tripped, the sun darted behind a cloud.  Fortunately it reappeared a few seconds later.

Another projected image

Even the trees assisted in providing a good view of the eclipse - through their leaves!

Would it have been nice to see the "totality" part of the eclipse?  Sure.  But the financial risk wasn't worth it.   Sometimes second choice is better...



  1. My wife and I both recall the 1963 event. For us the eclipse this week was partial.
    I like the story in Mark Twain's 'A Yankee in King Arthur's Court'. where the time traveler is set to be burned at the stake and he recalled that it was the date of the eclipse and he threated that if he were harmed he would blot out the sun. The eclipse started and his life was spared.

    1. Even though this eclipse was only a partial, it was a lot of fun. Particularly the party atmosphere, and the food (call me anything, just not late for dinner.)

      But the memories of my folks - and the fun we had traveling - are priceless. Too bad Mom doesn't remember anything about it...