Tuesday, January 3, 2017


A total solar eclipse is one of those big natural events that a) can be forecast decades in advance and b) is something people look board to, because it's so cool.  Twenty seventeen will mark the first solar eclipse over the continental United States since 1979.  I remember the 1979 occurrence, but I didn't actually see the eclipse itself - it was visible the most in the Pacific Northwest, and whether or not I'd be able to see it from the Northeast wasn't going to matter, because I wasn't going to risk hurting my eyes. It was on February 26, 1979, a Monday; I was in eighth grade, so I was in a classroom when it happened, and it was a cold and rainy day in the part of the Northeast where I was living, anyway.  Ironically, that was about the time I got expelled from science class because I was flunking it and not getting along with the other kids.
I've never been very scientifically literate.  That's why I trust the climatologists who say global warming is real.
Anyway, I saw the images on TV instead, and the weatherman on the station I was watching said there'd be "a rerun in 38 years."  Now here we are, 38 years later, and the total eclipse coming our way on August 21 - another Monday - should be visible to everyone in America, not just some of us.   This time I hope to find a way to see it without hurting my eyes . . . unless it rains.
I can't help but note a little bad karma, though,  when I realize that the last solar eclipse over the continental United States was followed by a multitude of cosmic bummers in 1979 - the Three Mile Island disaster (I was living in Pennsylvania at the time), the second gas shortage, the gasoline riots, Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech, the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that ended the détente period of the Cold War.  Also, "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" hit number one.  With Donald Trump about to move into the White House and Britain about to move out of the European Union, I wonder if more bad karma - worse karma - is at hand for after August.
Well, I'm going to try to not to get superstitious about the eclipse, though I will have some trepidation in attempting to see it myself rather than on video.
Information on the 2017 eclipse is available here. 

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