Within the path of totality
So brief, but spectacular
Not so much in our side yard
A pinhole viewer
I call it my “eclipse-o-meter”
I held the device
Pointed to the sun/moon eclipse
A tiny image, the size of a period
A smiley-face Sun
The moon bite
No telescope, no trip
To totality lane
As sunlight dimmed
A resident rabbit showed itself
In my tomato patch
Aha. Now I understand
The bite marks on tomatoes
Two parallel lines – incisor marks
As full sunlight returned
Rabbit ran for cover
My Eclipse Story
I recall sitting on the front steps of my boyhood home with a pin hole view box. I watched the event with some neighborhood friends. This may have been a precursor for my future career as a science teacher.
I made a lamination of exposed film and smoked glass for another eclipse in my late twenties. Custer Astronomy Institute in Southold gave away protective glasses for another event. I took several pair for my students. For this eclipse, I asked my librarian who said ”Try Walmarts.” Media latched onto this one because the path crossed the USA in a diagonal stripe like a NO DOGS ALLOWED sign.
I made an “eclipse-o-meter using tin foil, corrugated cardboard. News reports predicted millions of people would watch, some traveling into the path of totality.
The science, the hype, the scientist interviews…all built momentum for the 2 and ½ minutes of perfect moon coverage.
For me it isn’t the science, it’s others learning science and having a brief encounter with the solar system. This event is but a blink, Earth’s biggest shadow. People actually got outdoors, forgot about cell phones and smart pads. They made actual boots on the ground contact with nature.
There’s so much more up there at night. I have a love affair with the universe, seeing star constellations, planets, comets, meteors, and northern lights.
The hype is over. It’s back to the grind. Our totality isn’t total any more. We stood in moon shadow these short moments yet we cast shadows all the time. If anything, I’d suggest that people look more at shadows. Shadows illuminate textures of Earth. Life without shadows would be boring. We need shadows for contrast.