Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eclipse Weirdness by C.J. Burright

Since another total solar eclipse won’t be coming around the U.S. for years, I’m getting all geared up to take it in. I’ve got my glasses, and since Oregon is expected to be overrun with tourists, I even got the day off without asking. Score! If I’m super-lucky, the skies will be clear…but this is Oregon, so here’s to hoping. People are making a big deal about the eclipse, and wherever there are people, there’s bound to be some weirdness. Which I am, of course, happy to share with you. First, some cool weirdness.

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Did you know that by taking pictures of stars during a total solar eclipse, Eddington demonstrated how gravity bends light? Also, French astronomer Jules Janssen discovered helium during a solar eclipse in 1868. That’s some super-cool scientific weirdness.

It is written…according to some Greek historians, a solar eclipse in 585 BCE was enough of a sign to halt warfare between the Lydians and the Medes. If only that worked in today’s world, right?

If you’re near animals during the eclipse, watch for some weirdness. Experts say that the birds and insects go eerily silent. The darkness confuses nocturnal animals into waking up and tricks others into settling down for a nap. Since I live on some acreage, I plan to take notes on the level of eeriness. For future writing projects, of course.

And now for some even weirder stuff…

In ancient China, predicting the eclipse was a big deal for an emperor’s success. If astrologers failed, not only did this not bode well for their leader, but some paid with their lives. And Babylonians would plant temporary kings during eclipses so the bad luck wouldn’t fall onto their real king. Some poor sap got to be king for a day—and face the wrath of their Gods.   

Some people in India fast during the eclipse because any food prepared during an eclipse will be unpure and/or poisonous. Even better, some Indians avoid demonic possession during the eclipse by bathing in urine before and after. And don’t forget to rinse your eyes! They also believe that urine protects vision…but to be extra-safe, don’t forget protective eclipse glasses.

Thinking about getting it on during the eclipse? You might want to reconsider. Back in the day, it was believed that would result in ugly, little demon children.
Not that Dean Winchester as a demon is ugly...but to play it safe, go with what some Latin Americans do—wear red undies and a safety pin to prevent any birth defects. Need a partner for some eclipse action? Check craigslist. There's a 40 year old guy from Europe who's looking for a woman to help him produce a child during the eclipse. He claims he's smart, attractive, in good shape, and his blood is pure. Hrms. If he was such a great catch, I'm thinking he wouldn't have to resort to craigslist, but what do I know? 

Whatever you plan to do for the eclipse, don’t forget to look down too! Look at the horizon during totality for a 360 degree sunset. Check the ground for shadow snakes or shadow bands, which are moving lines of alternating light and dark. Smack something large and white on the ground beforehand to get the full effect—they only occur during the seconds immediately before and after totality. And lift your gaze again to find Mercury, which is usually outstripped by the sun.

Are you planning to view the eclipse?


via GIPHY

30 comments:

lisa ward said...

I really enjoyed reading this article made laugh. Also live in the country so I'll check the animals and bugs sounds cool.
Probably not going to watch but it's a anyhow..

DJK said...

Hi, that is really interesting! I think we had an eclipse a few months ago in the southern hemisphere, but I hope everyone in the northern hemisphere enjoys it. Cheers.

jvkrn said...

Very interesting!

CJ Burright said...

Thanks, Lisa! :) Since I've never seen a total eclipse (which is hear the difference between a partial eclipse and a total eclipse is the same as "almost falling in love" compared to the real deal), I'm excited!

CJ Burright said...

Thanks for dropping by, DJK - I think the total eclipse is going to be super-cool, and since the odds of me being alive at the next one aren't good, I don't want to miss it. :)

M Sims said...

I remember as a kid in elementary school we went outside and were each given special glasses to put on and watched the sun but I was too young to remember why. It was in the very early 80's or possibly 1979. Might have been a partial eclipse? Unfortunately, Indiana isn't in the path for this eclipse so I won't be able to see it : (

CJ Burright said...

I remember watching partial eclipses too - I think we made homemade eye protection with a shoebox...but it's been a while, so I can't remember all the details! That's a shame you're not in the eclipse path, but I promise to enjoy it for you. :)

Andrea Stoeckel said...

We'll see a partial eclipse here in Upstate NYand CJ, we made those "pinhole cameras" too when I was about t0 years younger than now. Only we did it with two 'shirt cardboards. This time, we'll sit outside but just not look up

Andrea Stoeckel said...

Oh, BTW, I love the sun catcher. This motif is one of my favorites

CJ Burright said...

Andrea - YES! Pinhole cameras, that's what they were called! I have actual, official glasses this time, so I'm ready. Thanks so much for dropping in!

mz.pembroke@gmail.com said...

Love the sun catcher!
I too, am a Native Oregonian.
However at the moment, I am a displaced one. Living way over here in Virginia.. yearning to be amid the pines and douglas firs..
Have a great weekend.

CJ Burright said...

Another Oregonian -woot! I know exactly what you mean about the Douglas firs...every time I visited my grandparents in Nebraska, I knew I was home the second we drove into the Douglas firs. I love my Oregon trees! Thanks so much for stopping in. :)

Sarah DeLong said...

I've seen a partial eclipse and can't wait for this eclipse. Loved reading your article. It was very informative.

CJ Burright said...

Thanks, Sarah! I'm pumped to see the total eclipse too. :)

Jean MP said...

My husband is really excited about the eclipse. I enjoyed reading your post.

CJ Burright said...

Thanks, Jean! I'm looking forward to experiencing the eclipse too. :)

Amy Storch said...

I am looking forward to the eclipse! I am in Minnesota, so I will get 87% of the effect, according to NASA. I wish it was more but can't really complain. However, the local weather man has stated we may have storms that will obscure viewing the eclipse. I will hope for the best!

CJ Burright said...

Oh no, not storms during the eclipse! I'm hoping for no clouds or rain too, but that would be such a bummer to miss out on the full effects of the eclipse. Thanks for dropping in, Amy! :)

Diane Burton said...

I've never seen a total solar eclipse--and I won't get to see a total this time either. We're a little too far north. Still, it will be great to watch this. With protective eyewear, of course. Got ours, and they have the special code that they're approved. I enjoyed reading the info you got and what I researched for my post last week. I hope your town isn't overrun as I've heard many are along the path of the eclipse. Enjoy the total eclipse for me, too.

Mary Preston said...

A fabulous post thank you.

Angelia said...

Yes I will be watching the Eclipse with my children

Maureen said...

Thanks for the great post with some interesting and funny info, lol. Can't even find any glasses anywhere where I live, so I don't know that I will be 'seeing' it.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Excellent post! Thanks for all those delightful tidbits. :)

CJ Burright said...

Thanks, Diane! While there have been rumors of tourist flooding, it's quiet so far in my neck of the woods. :)

CJ Burright said...

Thank you, Mary! :)

CJ Burright said...

That's great, Angelia! Especially that you're experiencing it with your kids. I know some people who are shrugging it off as no big deal, but it's not like a total eclipse comes around every day, right?

CJ Burright said...

Thank you, Maureen! My boss was kind enough to pick me up a pair, but I know they're all sold out now. You could always make a pinhole box... :)

CJ Burright said...

Thanks, Joanne - nice to *see* you! :)

Anna (herding cats-burning soup) said...

Some cool stuff. We had a dog with us and no change in him. Or in wildlife that we could tell. No crickets or anything coming out. It was just too short of a time period, I think.

CJ Burright said...

I wanted to take note of the sudden quiet, but my rowdy neighbors blew it for me, cheering for the eclipse as if they were surprised it happened. So much for countryside suburbia... :)