Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Today we are Eclipse Central. A total solar eclipse went right through our little corner of the world. We are temporarily famous, and a vacation destination. But if you didn't come to visit us, and that would be everyone who is reading this, then you didn't get to see it with us.

We had a beautiful, cloudless spring sky to view it, and the country was awash in cardboard "Eclipse Glasses" that you could buy for about $1.50. I didn't have any, but Stephen did and he shared them with Mark and me.

As Ted was leaving for work this morning, Mark stopped him to ask if he knew about the eclipse and when Ted said yes, Mark said:

"Do you think it will actually happen?"

:-) Science meets tribal superstition. In my very own yard.

About ten minutes before 9AM it got noticeably less bright outside, and the dogs and I went out to hang with Stephen and Mark. We all studiously didn't look up unless we were the current possessor of the magic glasses. It's astonishing how much light is given off by just a sliver of sun- it was much like a cloudy day right up until the moon slid directly into its path and BOOM! we were in twilight. At 9 in the morning.

The dogs wandered from place to place going "What? Why are we out here doing nothing?" Light, dark, it's all the same to dogs.

It was VERY COOL. Seriously cool.

Stephen's comment was "God is great!"

Mark just giggled.

And all over the neighborhood we heard clapping and cheering and then we all just stood there in the semi-dark, sneaking glances at the sky and imagining what would happen if the universe stopped and we stayed this way forever.

And then it was over. And from outside the garden walls we heard more clapping and cheering, except louder and more enthusiastic, because at least a few people were worried that it might not get light again.

The local TV and radio covered it all- including radio talk shows sharing emails and text messages from people who predicted dire things from this "unexplained phenomenon".

The scene at Ted's office and Cooper's school was exactly the same, down to the clapping and cheering. A parent at Cooper's school got magic eclipse glasses for them all, so he got a good view of what may be a once in a lifetime experience for him.

Here's a map of the path of the eclipse, and Coop in his glasses (he couldn't see the flash on the camera because of the glasses!)