Monday, April 08, 2024

The Great American Eclipse of 2024

We almost didn't see it. This total lunar eclipse cut a long path across the United States, from Texas to the New England states. Northeastern Pennsylvania was outside the path of totality, but still in an area of greater than 90% coverage - 94.4% in Nanticoke. Unfortunately, that was also pretty much our degree of cloud coverage this afternoon, after a bright and sunny morning. Still, there were moments that the eclipsed sun could be seen through the clouds, as captured above at about 3:15 PM.

I tried to get establishing shots of the sky and landscape before the maximum eclipse so I could compare it to the appearance at maximum. Unfortunately, the adaptability of my camera to various light levels meant that no significant difference can be seen in the before (above) and after (below) images. But there was a significant difference. The "after" appearance was much gloomier, and felt unnatural. The clouds seemed to thicken, making me wonder if the temperature drop in the Moon's shadow causes water vapor to condense out of the atmosphere, increasing cloud formation. It was easy to feel the temperature drop as well.

I had friends at various points along the path of totality. One traveled to San Antonio, Texas especially to see the eclipse. It looked like she and her companions would be clouded out, but the sky cleared long enough to see totality, and the solar corona. (A few hours later it was raining hard enough that her hotel began to take on water.) Another friend in Niagara Falls had cloud cover comparable to ours, but at least got to experience totality by having the mid-afternoon clouded-over sky turn completely black.

While somewhat disappointing, this was a fun event, and I'm glad I got to experience it. 

CODA: While reviewing past eclipse posts, I found this diagram of the path of today's eclipse, created by Fred Espenak. I originally posted it in December 2018.

Friday, April 05, 2024

Poem: Love Day


Love Day

Here's to the personal holidays -

the days we carry with us

Not just the birthdays and anniversaries

but all the other days that mean so much to us

and might not mean anything to anyone else

The first time you fell in love

The day you got the call that your grandmother had died

The day you walked away and never looked back

Days fill a year

and make up a life

So celebrate your personal holidays

even if nobody else knows why