August 21. The word is eclipse. Eclipses are a big thing for me. Here’s a list of ones I’ve seen in my lifetime (so far)
- 7 March, 1970. Southern California. around 40% School made such a fuss.
- 10 July, 1972. SoCal again. Around 20% There was minor fuss.
- 26 February, 1979. East-central Indiana. 70% Fuss. School. Shadowboxes. Science!
- 30 May, 1984. Annular eclipse, east-central Indiana. Near 80% School ignored.
- 10 May, 1994. Annular. Chicagoland, Illinois. Near 100%, but never full darkness. I remember seeing mentions on local news and in the papers. Nothing major.
I made a point of getting outside to view all those events, but I’ve never seen totality. Never saw night come in the daytime. Never saw the moon pass fully before the sun in front of my wondering–and vision-protected–eyes.
Side note, yes, there’s a gap in my list. An eclipse was visible in North America in 1991, but…well, I missed it. I’m sure it happened, but the internet wasn’t the major event-reminder-hype machine it is today, astronomy was at its media nadir, and I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Solar coverage was under 20% where I was anyway, so…meh.
Anyway. All those eclipses, but never a totality. Until now.
<cue dramatic music>
Barring disasters/disastrous traffic and weather permitting, I’ll finally see the moon swallow down the sun later today in southern Illinois.
Not taking pictures. Not going to live-tweet or post to Facebook or anything. Blessings and admiration to all who do–you’re generous to share your experience as it happens. Me, I am not a talented enough multi-tasker to attempt experience and description at once. But I’ll write about it later, I promise. After.
In the meantime, if you’re in any area that’ll see more than 30% coverage, it will be noticeable. Freakish-noticeable. Try to peek outdoors for at least the few minutes when the moon passes overhead. Even if it’s cloudy. Even if it’s nasty. And if you can’t…well, the internet is a thing, and NASA will be broadcasting the eclipse totality zone from all over the country. EVEN FROM SPACE.
Chances to marvel at nature’s biggest light & shadow show do not come along every day. Take the opportunity. Stop and marvel at the wonder of being in the world.
But do NOT look straight at the sun, not even a little. Please don’t. The internet will show you why not, in gruesome detail, if you insist on checking, but time spent on the horror stories is time better spent looking up videos of past eclipses to ooh and ahh over.
That’s what I’ve been doing. I am VERY EXCITED. Have I mentioned that?
word provided by Nature.