Eclipse

What would a good science blog be without mention of last night’s breathtaking solar eclipse?

I set up on my patio with a welding mask, a notebook and pencil and glass of iced tea.  The nerd in me says I should take notes about an event that I am unlikely to see again.  While it seems silly to take notes of some well-recorded event, society gains much information from handwritten personal notes.  You never know when such notes or journals will be useful to someone.

I wrote down the time when I first observed the moon crossing the face of the sun.  At my location, that was 5:30 PM.  I then drew the solar disc every ten minutes until the sun set about 7:15 PM.  I reduced the interval near the eclipse maximum to 5 minutes or less so that I could note the time when I thought the eclipse was at maximum.  In my case the eclipse was at its maximum extent at 6:36 PM.

I also paid attention to my workshop wall. The sun was filtering through the leaves and branches of my orange tree, effectively acting as a hundred or more pinhole lenses, and projecting the multiple images of the eclipse onto the wall.  It’s much the same as the pinhole viewer you may have used to observe the eclipse, but this time mother nature did it for me.  I remember seeing this phenomenon once in my youth.  I remember being on a hike and seeing the sunlight from a solar eclipse filtering through a pine tree, projecting the image of the eclipse onto the trail. [I should ask my parents if they remember this and where this was.  My recollection is that we were in Yosemite National Park.]

Here’s my wall.  You can see all the crescent shaped eclipse images, all oriented the same way.  Pretty damn cool!

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