Totality Parma

Since the last partial eclipse in 2017, the build up to this year’s Solar eclipse has been insane. By 2021 the countdown had already started with a warning about being ready to protect our eyes. By 2023 the Meteorologists were starting to talk about the eclipse and what the weather might be like: who was going to be able to view it and what the path of totality was. This continued to build until every- one was whipped into a feverish pitch, and the meteorologists were all having nervous breakdowns. How could anything live up to this hype? I mean it’s just the moon, something we see every day, moving past the sun, something we also see every day. What’s the big deal?

Well, one fine point to the big deal was this happens ONLY on planet Earth, and rarely over populated areas, let alone the town you live in. The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, and 400 times closer. So that only in this rare celestial tango, for only a limited time, does this happen. No other planets have the same ratios of their moons. It could be the only place in the galaxy where this extraordinary astronomical event happens. The moon’s path blocks the sun and casts a shadow upon the Earth during the day, and it becomes dark as night. This is Totality.

Normally, the sun is too bright to look at without damaging your eyes, so making observations about it is very difficult. All we can see is a huge, bright, fuzzy ball, or on cloudy/rainy days, the sun itself. The Corona atmosphere around the sun, that projects out millions of miles with solar flares is not visible to the naked eye. The intense energy created by the Solar winds is usually only witnessed by those with telescopes equipped with special lenses to protect the viewer. One of the real observations everyone made is even with 95% of the sun blocked it was daylight. It was only at totality that a very strange darkness enveloped everyone, causing lights to go on, and everyone to stop and think. It was also the only time you could take off your protective lenses and look directly at the sun, and see the corona.

I have to say, it lived up to the hype and more. It was one of the odd-est, calmest, most pleasing moments of my life. Friends, family, passersby on the street, all stopped and looked up, amazed. Even some of the most jaded people I know were not just taken back, but silenced as they looked in awe. A truly magical moment that stirred emotions and was awe-inspiring. You could imagine our ancestors witnessing an event such as this without any buildup or warning and what they could have possibly thought.

Jim O'Bryan


Read More on Opinion
Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 12:20 AM, 05.01.2024