Current Event / Observational Astronomy

Another Missed Eclipse

Last week, a total eclipse took place in us-eclipseNorthern Australia and in the South Pacific.

Whenever I read about them, it always reminds me of an article that I read 30-plus years ago about a man’s experience during a total solar eclipse. I don’t recall all the details, but I vividly remember that his descriptions of the event made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Shortly before the darkness came, he wrote of the growing excitement as the long bands of shadows began moving across the ground. Looking through an eyepiece, he saw Baily’s beads of bright pearls forming on the edge of the moon, and the beautiful crimson color of the prominences on the edge of the sun. Then a blanket of darkness fell upon him as quickly as a light switch turning off, and the full glory of the solar corona filled his eyepiece. It said it was the eeriest experience he’d ever had.

Needless to say, I’ve wanted to experience this in person ever since, but only 21 total eclipses have happened in the last 30 years, always seeming to happen in places I couldn’t or didn’t want to go to, like Syberia or Iceland or Colombia.

But it’s finally going to happen for us here in the Midwest. In 2017, the point of Greatest Eclipse will fall only 500 miles south of here for a total of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. You can bet Amy and I will be there!

Now if only the moon were in a perfectly circular orbit, a little closer to the Earth, and in the same orbital plane, there would be a total solar eclipse every month. I don’t know if everyone else thinks that’s a good idea, but I’m quite sure I’d never tire of it.


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