I wish I could have been there! But that would have been very expensive and time-consuming. However, it was possible to merge my vivid recollections of the near-total eclipse we experienced in the UK Midlands in August 1999 with the excitement conveyed by several videos of this month’s eclipse. That combination made this a pleasure to write
Keon Gibson, an
intern for the National Centre
for Atmospheric Research,
shot the moment of
totality through a telescope
atop Casper Mountain, Wyo., on August 21.
corona stretches around the moon-blocked sun.
Image from Science News website 21 August 2017
Those who witnessed it
said it was like nothing else!
No photograph nor video
(and there were very many)
did justice, they said,
to the 2minutes and 40 seconds
of sheer wonderment,
surprise and joy
at the reliably predicted
Thankfully it was a clear day
over the terrain
that was fortunate enough
to lie within in its path.
So huge numbers of the intrigued,
the informed and the curious
were able to be enraptured
by that brief, astonishing,
Came the precisely appointed time;
A voracious moon
ate silently into
that far more powerful light-giver
and beautifully, temporarily overwhelmed it.
All around grew dimmer and dimmer.
as the human observers would have done
had they not been so excited!
(Historically it would have been terror
that dominated the response;
but we are a knowing people
who can prepare ourselves
for these rare dramas
in pre-determined places).
made for an eeriness
which, if we were less informed,
would add to a palpable fear
that the world was about to end.
But knowing the darkness would pass,
we could revel in amazement
that the orbits, the relative sizes and distances
of our star, planet and moon
gave rise to this glorious phenomenon
of the sun’s prominences,
seen edging the moon
with the splendour
of disinhibited dance.
Then all too soon, totality passed. But
another spectacle follows in its wake:
a fresh burst of incandescence announces
the sun’s reassertion of its life-giving rôle.
Comes forth a celestial diamond ring,
blazing as no earthly jewel ever can.
Then as the dark disc moves away
there are moments to reflect anew
on the multitude of extraordinary
that make this ‘blue marble’ planet of ours
so exquisitely benign,
and give the Creator praise!