The last time that I can remember a solar eclipse was in 1979, I think. Or maybe it was 1984, I'm not absolutely sure. Eclipses could be seen in North Carolina both years, although only partially. But the path of the eclipse was closer to North Carolina in 1984, so....
Adding to my confusion was a quick check on Wikipedia, which told me 1979 was total and 1984 was annular.
Huh? I never heard of an annular solar eclipse. To me, eclipses were either partial or total. Turns out, an annular eclipse occurs when the moon is farther away from the earth, looks smaller, and therefore doesn't completely cover the sun on their respective journeys across the sky (see here). Or something like that.
Anyway, I'm sure I was excited during one of those years about an eclipse. They're rare celestial events (although not as rare as, say, Halley's Comet, which appears once every 76 years) and who wants to miss that?
Which brings me to tomorrow.
The great temptation, of course, is to steal a quick glimpse of an eclipse without permanently damaging the only set of eyes you'll ever own. Solar eclipse eyewear is out there (if you can find some), but they better be ISO 12312-2 approved, whatever that means.
The trouble for me is that a lot of these glasses look like the 3D viewers you can pick up in a movie theater. Hmm. Maybe not. Other glasses have seemingly transparent lenses that look like they can't filter out moonlight, much less ultraviolet light. Hmm. Maybe not.
And the Internet is filled with Boy Scout projects featuring shoeboxes, scissors and Scotch tape, which might be the safe way to go except I'm too lazy to find the materials I need to make such a viewer.
So I'm going hi-tech. I'm going to watch the eclipse on television. I can sit down. I don't have to crane my neck. I can pet my cat and eat banana chips and sesame sticks. Presumably, I won't damage my eyes.
Even if I can't remember what year I experienced my last eclipse, I do remember where I was. I was on the way to Denton to do an athlete of the week story for The Dispatch. On the way, I noticed the sky getting eerily darker, so I pulled over to an athletic field in Southmont.
I think I recall hearing birds chirp a little more loudly, maybe a few rabbits and squirrels running around wondering what was going on with their circadian rhythms. If I can pull myself out of my recliner, I might step outside to see just how dark it gets at mid-day, to see whether birds seek shelter or if squirrels and rabbits start scratching their heads.
Heck, I might could get another blog out of this.
I guess we'll see...