Monday, August 21, 2017


Eclipse 2017!  And Unforeseen Contingencies was there!  Various friends and colleagues asked me if I had plans to travel to the path of totality.  I'm recovering from surgery and not supposed to travel much, so no, I didn't... but I wouldn't have, regardless.  To me, an eclipse is not such a big deal that I'd spend a few days traveling for it, and besides, we were in the region of 85% occlusion.  I'd rather spend half an hour at home watching 85% than spend an additional three days just to get the remaining 15%.  I understand that for some people it's worth it, it just doesn't get me that excited. I saw another like this once, in Montana, maybe 1979, and it wasn't that memorable.  The Mount St. Helen's eruption was much more dramatic.

Regardless, I was willing to spend a good half hour devoted to such astronomical pursuits, and so assembled a simple Eclipse Viewer from a plan I found online using a cardboard box, tape, aluminum foil, and a few other odds and ends. The whole thing struck me as suspiciously similar to an orgone accumulator, but I'm pleased to report that it worked rather well.  I took some photos (below) with my iPhone, but these don't do it any justice.  To my naked eye, the actual image was quite distinct and much more dramatic than anything in the photos, and the occlusion much greater than apparent here.  We also had passing clouds, and these showed up dramatically whenever they'd blow across the sun.

I'm posting these because the internet seems to be swamped with eclipse photos today, so apparently everyone agrees there can't be too many eclipse photos.  Here's my contribution.

Second generation Eclipse Viewer of my own design.

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