Monday, April 8, 2024

der Mond

B. and I traveled to St. Louis for the 2017 total solar eclipse, at the invitation of a friend who lived in the zone of totality. Several other friends accepted the invitation, and we had a pleasant backyard party of it. We found no congestion, no trouble making hotel reservations, etc. And we experienced the totality.

I wouldn't mind seeing another one, but the difficulties of travel, both personal and pandemic-wise, have increased since then, so this time I stayed at home to see the partial. Maybe a good thing too, as B. tells me that everybody on FB who's gone to Texas has found heavy cloud cover. (No word yet from my brother in Pennsylvania.) It was bright and sunny here, a change from the dripping rain we've had off and on for weeks.

And I did see the partial. I went to the plaza outside the city library, but found nothing there I couldn't get at home besides a long line of people waiting to view through the telescope. So I went back home. My pinhole viewer did not produce good results, but with the eclipse glasses I had an effect unlike any I'd seen before at an eclipse. Not only was there a bite taken out of the Sun, but - faintly, as if a ghost of itself - I could see the full outline and features of the Moon. Probably it would have been clearer without the glasses, but of course then the Sun would drown it out, and fry your eyes into the bargain.

Over the course of an hour, taking a peek half a dozen times, I watched the Moon come over the Sun on the right, then slowly move down below it, still taking a bite, and then gradually move off to the left and vanish. Astronomical movement in action.

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