If you live within the borders of the continental United States there is a little thing (BIG, BIG THING, THINK HUGE!) coming on Monday August 21st, something that a majority of the three hundred plus million residents have never seen. On this day for a whopping two and a half minutes the moon will cover the sun to create a solar eclipse. All over our country people are scrambling to put themselves in place to get the best view. With that comes all manner of logistical challenges for the lucky inhabitants and municipalities poised to make the most of this “once in a lifetime event”.
I didn’t want to patrol the sidelines in such a time as this since I have a great affection for anything to do with nature and the stars. That’s why I am doing something for the first time with my collection of blogs in this year of numerous firsts, I am in effect going to simulcast across three of my blogs and do a humor piece on the Fiction Playground about the eclipse. Many of you may be regular visitors to all of the blogs, so for your benefit I will say this post will be the same on Chasing the Blooms and Living the J.O.Y. Principle.
THE MOON GETS TO BE THE STAR
I will freely admit of all the cosmic players I find the moon to be the most exciting. While it is truly a solid spherical object the interaction with the sun gives it such a dynamic lifecycle as over the 28 days it goes from total nothing through every possible fraction to a fully illuminated glory.
While I wish I could have supplied my own photo of a full moon I don’t possess the right photography equipment to totally provide the justice tot he beauty of our moon. While I have always loved to watch the moon as it works through its cycle I truly began to appreciate it when I began daily routine of walking my Miniature Sheltie after dark a couple of years ago. Most nights there is a great view of my favored celestial object and I still thrill every time the moon is at its peak.
We have been blessed to make numerous trips tot he ocean where we get to experience even more of the moons grandeur, both through the waves it creates and by seeing the moon in a different light. I have been closely monitoring the moon cycle this summer because we are soon to embark on a seven day Alaskan cruise and we will be able to enjoy a full moon on three of the nights. I know it will be a glorious sight.
So back to my original point of this section, which is the moon being the star. In a solar eclipse the moon gets to turn the tables, if even so briefly on its bigger brother, the sun. Every so many years the moon lines up perfectly between the sun and earth to blot out the sun for the briefest of periods. We are blessed to bear witness in the U.S.A. to this fabulous event on Monday.
THE WEATHER CHANNEL GOES NUTS!
The folks at the Weather Channel are about to burst with excitement and rightly so! I have watched them come from their infancy into the undisputed authority on weather, storms and events like this. I can remember watching them document Hurricane as it ravages New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and Superstorm Sandy when it made big news as the latest and greatest storm to hit the Northeast. This team really knows how to cover all the angles of such a huge event.
On Monday they will have folks far and wide, from a plane of the west coast of America, in cities from coast to coast in the “zone of totality” (which simply is the narrow band where the sun will be totally covered) to a cruise ship in the Eastern Atlantic. While I intend to venture outside when the time is right I imagine I will have my television tuned to this coverage like many others.
DO YOU HAVE YOUR GLASSES?
I can remember a partial solar eclipse when I was in a community college in our town about thirty years ago. I cannot recall all the hub-bub over the special glasses that are available this time around. I do remember there were special devices to allow us to witness this occurrence.
Thanks to my “sister” I have a prized pair of these glasses. As I watched some of the Weather Channel coverage they documented the plight of many trying to get their own pair and waiting for hours in all kinds of conditions to do so. As with all things some people were trying to make a buck, with some glasses listen on eBay for $999!
It is a shame there is only 1 pair left because I have four people in my house that would love to have these!
Also yesterday I heard from the weather channel that there are some “unapproved” glasses in circulation. By unapproved they mean they will not protect your eyes properly when you look at the sun. While the entities who sold these glasses promise a refund at this late date the hope of getting replacements is slim. I am assured of safe viewing as a field tested mine last night by looking at the full sun and what I saw more resembled the moon at night.
I also know that school systems around the country are altering their schedules to take advantage of this event. There are numerous concerns, from children exiting buses in the darkened conditions to the possibility of curious young eyes forever damaged from viewing the eclipse without the benefit of the protective lenses.
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is for those schools in the “path of totality” that have to deal with the massive influx of “Lookie-Loos” eager to see the sight. With gasoline, food and other necessities stretched you can imagine how the regular operations of a school system could get crazy.
DON’T LEAVE GOD OUT OF THIS
As I prepare to enjoy this day I cannot forget to stop and thank God for a number of things: the gift of sight, to be able to enjoy this, the gift of knowledge to be able to understand how and why it occurs, the love of nature and science, the blessing of location, as this particular eclipse is only going to be witnessed by those in America, and the opportunity to use this as an evangelistic tool.
God gives us so many reminders that he is in charge of this world and everything that surrounds it. He made an intelligent design in which everything blends together in such a beautiful way to allow us to inhabit this planet and enjoy its wonders. In return God asks that we consider how we can honor Him and the sacrifice of his son by confessing our sins and accepting Jesus as our personal Savior.
I have learned just this week from my nineteen year old daughter that there will be another eclipse in seven years that will form an X in relation to the path of this one. But truly none of us is promised another day, much less seven years. This could very well be the last eclipse any of us sees if the time is complete for the return of Jesus Christ. This is the best time in the history of the world to learn how Christ can make your life better in every way. I would love to be able to share that with you and can point you toward my Faith based blog Living the J.O.Y. Principle for more information.
WHAT WILL THE LASTING EFFECT BE?
How in the world could we know what will come out of this experience? Hopefully people will develop more of an appreciation for the intricacies of God’s creation. Also, perhaps many young ones who really never gave science a chance will have their imaginations piqued by this moment in time. I know I am beyond excited and have been since I first learned of the eclipse in a newspaper article in March of this year.
I can’t wait to enjoy the millions of images that will bombard the internet, television and magazines starting Monday evening. While I won’t be able to capture my own I am sure there will be plenty to enjoy.
Tell me your thoughts about this event. Do you live in a region where you will enjoy “totality”? Does your town have an event planned? Do you have the right equipment to capture the beauty of this event?