Geography, astronomy, music, history

On Monday, Benny and I saw the solar eclipse at a high school football field in the Idaho Cascades. A girl named Phoenix organized a big viewing festival with the local school STEM club, and there were telescopes and pinhole box viewers and hamburgers and European tourist families and a cute boy playing a soulful acoustic rendition of “I’m Sexy And I Know It” on his guitar and a big countdown to the totality that was off by a few seconds. It was pretty nice. There was a rundown trailer down the road with a brand-new Confederate flag hanging from it, but mostly there were people being happy and excited and community-minded. It was a good day.

This cartoon reminds me a little of the whole experience, I guess. Let’s see if we can outshine ignorance.

Etiquette & superstition: eclipses, part two

It’s been a while since we talked about eclipses here, and I know I didn’t cover everything then. If I don’t get everything in this time, maybe I’ll try again in 2024.

ETIQUETTE: There are two things that most people are going to want to experience during a solar eclipse – darkness and an unimpeded view of the sky. So, if you are going to be around other people and happen to be in the path of totality,

During the total eclipse phase (a maximum of 2:40 at its area of longest duration this time around), be particularly careful about the following:

  • don’t take flash photos
  • don’t take selfies with your damn screen all lit up
  • don’t text (seriously, if you can’t keep yourself from texting for less than three minutes, I don’t even know what to tell you)

SUPERSTITION: Remember last time when we warned you about how you had to make a lot of racket to scare the giant sky dragon and make him barf up the sun? Turns out that’s not true. During an eclipse, what actually happens is this demon who got his head chopped off after the sun and moon ratted him out to Vishnu for stealing some immortality juice goes and eats the sun, but it’s okay because he’s only a head, so after he swallows the sun it just falls out of his neck hole and everything’s fine after a few minutes.

So relax and don’t worry about the eclipse, unless you’re a pregnant lady who wants to give birth to a healthy child. Aside from the cleft palate danger I mentioned in the previous post, a pregnant woman who goes out into the eclipse just might turn her unborn child into a mouse fetus.

Photo (cropped) of Sun Days Motel sign by Sam Howzit via Flickr


Etiquette & superstition: eclipses

The moon is sure being an attention hog this week, isn’t it? Right about now on the other side of the world the moon is busy eclipsing the sun. Calm down, moon. Celebrity is both a blessing and a curse.

ETIQUETTE: When viewing an eclipse in a public space, be considerate of other people and their photographic and/or astronomical apparatus. Aim to stay at least a full body’s length away from any equipment.

SUPERSTITION: A solar eclipse is what happens when a giant snake or dragon eats the sun, and it is a portent of great doom and tragedy. It’s best not to undertake any new task in the period three days prior to and three days after an eclipse. Pregnant women should stay indoors and not touch their bellies during both solar and lunar eclipses to prevent cleft palate and dramatic birthmarks on their children. And nobody should eat or drink during the solar eclipse, as food and water is poison during that time. Oh, this is terrible; we’re going to be starving and thirsty and shivering in the dark and our pregnant women can’t touch their bellies, which everybody knows is impossible if they’ve ever spent any time around pregnant women. It’s been said that if you make a lot of noise during the eclipse, the dragon will get scared and barf up the sun, so if you happen to have a tuba handy you might want to help us all out. Otherwise, I don’t know how we are going to survive this six minutes and thirty-nine seconds of utter hell.

Published in: on July 21, 2009 at 9:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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