An Ecliptical Birthday Present

This coming Monday is a very important date. That’s right folks, if you’ve been listening to the news at all, you probably didn’t hear anything about why this Monday is important… to my brother. You see, way back on April 8 of 1956, my brother was born into this world. So he’s getting a solar eclipse for his 68th birthday!! Is that cool or what?? Of course, neither he nor I will be watching the eclipse in totality, unless we hustle our hineys southward; but that’s not likely to happen. I found a pretty cool website that tells you how much eclipse you’ll be able to see, and when. So here in Beautiful West Michigan (Muskegon specifically) we’ll be enjoying a 91.81% obscured sun. and it will max out at 3:31 PM Eastern time.. My bro lives in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, or “Winedance” as Grandma Loftus used to call it. There the sun will be 78.6% obscured at 2:08 PM Central time. Still should be dark enough at both locations to be quite fascinating. Here’s the site I used to get this info. I clicked on the magnifying glass icon (search) near the top right corner of the map, then typed in the town to find the statistics.

Last one like it for the U.S. was way back in 2017. I’ve heard that lots of folks are traveling toward our nation’s heartlands to be in the path of the umbra, which is the shadow that’s cast from the moon completely blocking the sunlight’s path to Earth. You can see a map of where the umbra will be experienced, along with lots more information here:

My Beautiful Girlfriend (the Lovely Lady who let me marry her) and I will not be traveling, but will instead be bathing in the glory of the penumbra here at our house in Beautiful West Michigan. Since we’re retired, we’ll be worry free of any work obligations interfering with our eclipse viewing. The only thing that might become an issue would be the lovely Michigan cloud cover we all know and “love” around this time of year.

Supposed to be sunny… we’ll see.

And hopefully all of you know to please be a responsible viewer and DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN during the eclipse. You’ll fry your eyeballs out of your noggin. Eyeball goop will be all melty and run down your face like gooey mascara during a rain storm. Maybe not. But you’ll damage your sight, and there are plenty of safe ways to view the eclipse. Here are some tips:

Hurry to your nearest public library. Many are giving out “eclipse glasses” for free. I got mine today. Other coolness: one of the most remarkable things I remember from the last event was the appearance of shadows during the eclipse. My favorite treat is to enjoy the shadows cast by leaves on trees. So if at all possible, try to find a nice shade tree that allows some sunlight to pass through it; and sit or stand underneath during the eclipse. The shadows cast on the ground give an almost surreal light show during this time… and it’s truly special if there’s a light breeze to move the leaves around a bit. Although it’s early springtime here, I’m looking forward to seeing what effect the obscured sunlight will have on the shadows of twigs and branches. I’ve also been known to punch a pin hole into a piece of cardboard to project an image of the eclipse on a table or something. For more fun, make numerous pin holes… you’ll get lots of eclipses projected onto your favorite viewing surface.

Yes my friends, this eclipse will be special indeed. The weather forecast is looking like partly sunny. Hopefully we’ll have enough clear sky to enjoy the darkest eclipse we’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. And hey, to my brother, Happy Birthday Eclipse to you. Hope you enjoy your gift!!

In case you’re wondering how sunshine is made, check this out: