Location, Location, Location
Detours in Life
Campers are on the road, hotel rooms are booked to capacity, and cities across an arc cutting through the mid-section of the USA are preparing for the total eclipse of the sun today beginning at 1715 hours GMT. That is during mid-morning coffee break time for the west coast and at the just after the noon hour for east coast residents.
For the 1,200,000 people living in the 70-mile-wide (113-km-wide), 2,500-mile-long (4,000-km-long) zone life will be chaotic, if it already isn’t. The last time the USA witnessed such an event stretching from coast to coast was in 1918. The last total solar eclipse able to be seen in the USA occurred in 1979. The fact that this one is happening during one of the busiest vacation months of the year is fueling the desire for families to travel to a spot in the viewing zone. An estimated seven and a half million people will witness this total solar eclipse in person.
A predictive map issued on Sunday by Weather Decision Technologies Inc. shows clear skies in the West, clouds in Nebraska and northwest Missouri, and partly cloudy conditions farther east. Regardless of the weather, all observers must wear specially designed eyewear to avoid damage to their eyes. For wildlife, it will seem as though there was a very short day. As the shadows on the ground increase and the sky appears to be experiencing a very early sunset, birds will go to their roosts in the trees to settle down to sleep.
For a brief two minutes on Monday, there will be a safe time to view the eclipse with the naked eye but the timing is to critical to risk it. During the totality or blackout, only the aura of the sun will be visible, the corona or atmosphere of the sun surrounding the circumference of the moon. Please, do not attempt to see this without protective eyewear. It is simply too risky.
It will be possible to capture the eclipse on one’s iPhone or tablet but these also will require special filters so as to not damage some or all of the pixels of the screen. Various websites can provide directions on how to do this. NASA Sun and Space or @NASASun will provide a great viewing for Twitter followers and other outlets will have live feeds.
Where will you be when this eclipse occurs? What effect do you think it will have? The myths surrounding eclipse are plentiful and date back to the earliest of times. In Italy it is believed that flowers planted during a solar eclipse will grow brighter and more plentiful that flowers planted at other times. In parts of India, it is believed that food prepared during an eclipse will be poisoned. In ancient Greece, it was believed that an eclipse was a sign of the gods’ anger. In some ancient cultures, pots and pans were banged to ward off the evil spirits believed to cause the blackout.
Today we know that the path of celestial bodies is what causes eclipses. Except for damage from looking at today’s event without protective eyewear, it should not poison any food, cause miscarriages, or even give positive assistance to horticulture.
Today we have the location of wisdom, scientific fact, and history to allow us to have a better understanding and detour from these ancient and incorrect myths about eclipses. Today we know that when our minds and brains are in a location of wisdom we will see the big picture correctly. Today our perspective comes from a location that has led to better understanding.
Ursus Wehrli once said “I like to turn things upside down, to watch pictures and situations from another perspective.” One simple way to view a total solar eclipse requires nothing more than a salad colander and some space. If you can resist the temptation to look up, you can place the colander upside on the ground or concrete and watch it instead of the sky. The pinholes will illustrate what the sky is experiencing.
This eclipse will last less than three hours today but for that time, many will come together. Denis Waitley reminds us that “You must look within for value but must look beyond for perspective.” I hope that today we will look beyond the skies and envision a world that can come together for peace. I hope that during those three hours in which our lives are taking a detour to experience this total eclipse we can celebrate each other – the value within and the potential beyond.