Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse Awareness

While I think it's kind of cool that our moon and sun are just the right size and distance away to do this very neatly, I'm not awed by solar eclipses. I prefer lunar eclipses, because you can watch them safely without projecting them or having special glasses.

I was flying during the eclipse yesterday, although not through the path of totality. A bit before it, a pilot asked air traffic control, "what time is the eclipse at this latitude?" I think he meant longitude. Pilots ask controllers everything. Hockey scores, election results, what's that lake in front of me called? The controller said, "I think it's happening now where we are at the Centre. Some people just went outside on break with the glasses." As you would have expected, air traffic controllers are smart enough not to stare at the sun.

It might have been starting then. Or maybe a bit later. It got a bit darker. I turned the cockpit lights on and concentrated on not looking out the window in the direction of the sun. Eventually it got lighter again. Then the earth turned some more and it got darker again. I'm pretty sure that it will be lighter again in the morning.


amulbunny's random thoughts said...

My kid had a great view in Chicago, but here at LAX it wasn't that memorable.

The first eclipse I ever saw was a lunar one. We were at the drive in with our folks, can't remember how old. The moon turned blood red. It was awesome. Like you I like the lunar ones.

Fly safe.

Sarah said...

You're not awed by solar eclipses? Have you ever seen a total solar eclipse?
Totally different experience.

Unknown said...

Saw a total eclipse in 2009. It's not just that it gets darker. It gets really dark surprisingly suddenly, as the last sliver of the sun disappears, compared to the gradual change that precedes it for an hour or so. Combine that with the diamond ring effect and the bizarre corona and a crowd of people around you spontaneously cheering with joy, and it is indeed a totally [hah] different experience.

Doug Sinclair said...

I flew from CYTZ to KSRB to experience the eclipse totality. The field was completely full, with everything from business jets to tiny experimentals. It was a wonderful way to spend a long weekend.

Christopher Thompson said...

I had a really nice commercial flight the day of the eclipse. The pilots did a nice job of getting us in the path of the eclipse. We were able to watch the moon's shadow come towards us. It was pretty amazing.

When I look at the track, it doesn't look like my usual flights to Chicago so I think someone did some research, a bit of math, and had some good planning skills.

click here

The photos I took were pretty spectacular. It was the first time I had seen a solar eclipse from the air and it once again reinforced my feelings that life is better with a different point of view.

tvd131 said...

Obviously you haven't ever seen a total solar eclipse. I saw one about twenty years ago, here in Germany. It was awesome.
How do I know, you haven't ever seen a total solar eclipse? Because you say, you can't watch one without special glasses. When the moon totally covers the sun, you can take the special glasses off. In fact you have to, because it gets really dark. And what you see then - with your naked eyes - is totally breathtaking. The sun is not this geometrically perfect disk of light. It's a burbling, bubbling, seething witches cauldron. A foaming and flaring ball of white hot hydrogen and helium. I saw it bubble and foam, flare and seethe, with my naked eyes. That was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. Maybe the most impressive thing.
A couple years ago there was a partial solar eclipse, here in Germany. Compared to the total eclipse it was a non-event.

Christopher Thompson said...

We're missing you Aviatrix. Hope all is well.