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Monday, August 21, 2017

THE ECLIPSE OF THE CENTURY

For background, click on HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A TOTAL ECLIPSE?  I had breakfast this morning watching CNN:


Watching the reaction of eclipse viewers from Oregon to South Carolina, I was able to re-live my experience 26 years ago.  I could identify with the 15 F temperature drop, the almost night (it was like 2AM in Anchorage on the longest day of the year--not quite really dark) and amazing sense of being involved in a once-in-a-lifetime experience...although this time #2 through the magic of television.

Until today, only a very small percentage of Americans had ever seen a total eclipse.  By the end of the day, this percentage was still tiny, for only very few less than prominent cities were in the 70-mile band width.  That white spot  on the Moon below was just a reflection.



This was a learning experience:
  • Totality does not occur at the same time for everyone.  This is because the Moon moves to the east in its orbit at 3400 km/hr, while the Earth rotates to the same direction at 1670 km/hr, so the lunar shadow shifts east at 3400 - 1670 = 1730 km/hr at the equator.  Both are moving in the same direction, but the Moon's goes faster, meaning that this shadow travels at 1,100 miles/hour at the equator and up to 5,000 MPH near the poles.  Across the USA, it moves from 1479 (South Carolina) MPH to 2203 (Oregon) MPH, and took 91 minutes at an average of 1651 MPH to cover 2496 miles across the country.
  • In 1973 the Concorde 001 tracked a total eclipse, and watched totality for 74 minutes, while those on the ground had around 7 minutes, which was still quite a bit longer than the 2-2.5 minutes over the U.S. today.
  • If you were there, you had to remember to take off your eclipse glasses at totality to view the corona.  2 to 2.5 minutes later, the Sun will began to again appear, so glasses need to be put back on.  Hopefully, no one used plain sun glasses to watch the event.
  • Amazingly enough this USA Total Solar Eclipse came out Red, White and Blue.

Unfortunately, it was raining in Nebraska just before the event.  Providentially, the sun shone through at totality.  The USA was mostly lucky today.


Everyone who lived in the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, had an opportunity to watch a partial eclipse.  But if you overcame travel, traffic gridlock, and clouds, you can only bask in the glory of being one of the very few who ever lived to actually witness a total solar eclipse.



But perhaps only 2 million actually succeeded this time, or maybe up to 10 million.  Exact details will be announced later.  At the larger figure, that still will be only a bit more than 1% of the world population.  At least billions will have seen something because of television.

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Wow, Hurricane Kenneth is now up to 125 MPH:



However, he is continuing to move mostly north, and will dissipate before getting close to Hawaii.

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