Total Eclipse

Cool… in more ways than one

August 22, 2017

Creepy eclipse photoIf you happened to miss The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 on August 21, take heart. Solar eclipses happen once every 18 months or so, on average. And if you want to see one on August 22nd… well, you also missed that opportunity as the last time there was an eclipse on this date was in 1998 and it crossed over the south Pacific.

The eclipse this year was part of a series which are known as metonic eclipses which occur every 19 years. From the infallible Wikipedia:

“The metonic series repeats eclipses every 19 years (6939.69 days), lasting about 5 cycles. Eclipses occur in nearly the same calendar date. In addition the octon subseries repeats 1/5 of that or every 3.8 years (1387.94 days).”

For your next opportunity in the United States you will have to wait until April 8, 2024… and even then to be in the path of totality you will need to be in a narrow band which stretches from San Antonio through Dallas, Texas and then on through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio before it skirts the northern edges of Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Maine gets a fair amount of it before it slides on over New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Although I did not go to Madras, Oregon to witness totality I did enjoy the dimming of the sun and how the earth cooled during the event. The photo posted above was taken by my husband in our backyard and, as my daughter said when she saw this photo (I paraphrase as this is a family friendly blog) “Well, that’s some creepy stuff.”

I also experienced the eclipse of February 26, 1979. I was a Senior at the University of Puget Sound and it was eerie how the world got quite dark and the birds started to twitter as though it was sunset. A very memorable experience even if it was cloudy that day. (Not a surprise it WAS winter in Western Washington)

Here are several links to information about the three eclipses mentioned:,_1979,_1998

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