Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

We call some things "cosmic" for a reason. (The 2017 solar eclipse)

I think back a lot to last year's solar eclipse, which I saw at almost-complete totality (99.4%) and which friends, some visiting Salem to the south of here and others visiting near Ontario in extreme eastern Oregon, saw at totality.

I also still make this face — 😕 — when I remember that some other friends, all of them smart people, kept saying in the time leading up it "What's the big deal? It's one thing passing in front of another thing." Even though it's at best exceedingly rare and possibly may not happen on any other planet beyond our own, and even though the effects on light during a solar eclipse are wonderfully weird and striking. (Seriously, of all the stars which we've learned have planets orbiting them, there's an astronomically small chance that those planets have moons the correct size and distance away to cause eclipses like this.) But they were dismissive of people making any special effort to see it — or, at most, would go "Oh, clouds are going to block it and all those people will have driven hours and camped for days for nothing."

And then they generally said nothing after many people said how profound and striking an experience it was to see the sky go dark, with sunset light on the horizon in every direction and the sun's corona (if you smartly watched through the special filtered glasses) leaping into that night-like darkness.

Sometimes too many of us, me included, are too f'ing cynical. (I can be, though not on this particular subject.)

We're allowed to be impressed.

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