Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
Are you ready for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse this Monday? Have you acquired your special paper eyewear that protects your eyes from the eclipse? I haven’t seen so much hysteria over a two minute event, well since May when the Kentucky Derby was run in 2 minutes and 12 seconds.
I hadn’t given much thought to sun gazing on Monday until my wife demanded I find a pair of glasses for both she and I. Thus when the wife says do something, I get on it. Right?
I immediately went to Google, where there were literally hundreds of choices ranging in price from $2 to $40. Imagine spending $40 on a pair of throwaway glasses? Who does that? I read about all the imposter glasses on the internet- glasses that didn’t protect your eyes. I also read about glasses Amazon was selling that suddenly were taken off the market Saturday because they were deemed not safe. I wondered how Amazon, the biggest retailer in the world, could be selling glasses that might be deemed unsafe?
I eventually purchased two pairs- not from Amazon thank you- that hopefully will allow what remaining eyesight we have to stay in place. Then I remembered back when I was a kid. It was another total eclipse and teachers in my grade school were warning students every half hour, not to look to the sky because we would go blind. There we were out in the playground with our special homemade glasses, looking upwards. At least the majority of us were wearing glasses. Some of us, when the teacher was looking elsewhere, took the glasses off and with one hand covering one of our eyes squinted out of the other to see the sun’s corona.
It didn’t seem to matter then. I enjoyed perfectly good eyesight most of my life. But kind of thinking about it, now my eyes are well, shot. Maybe it’s the after effects, forty years later, of peaking at the total eclipse on that grammar school playground.
Seriously don’t take a peak like I did. Only look with the special glasses. Sunglasses won’t work. Neither will unfiltered telescopes, magnifiers of any type or cameras. Looking through any of these could cause serious eye damage.
Back to the present day, this total eclipse is expected to last 2 minutes and 40 seconds. What really happens is the moon lines up to block the sun and thus cast a shadow on the Earth. The skies darken, temperatures drop, and at that point we will be able to see the sun’s corona, which is its hazy aura. Of course if we are trying to view and it’s raining or worse yet a thunderstorm, all bets are off. You will probably have to wait for the next total eclipse to come around.
It is a sight we haven’t seen on the continental United States in 38 years. Actually the last total eclipse to be able to be seen from coast to coast happened a mere 99 years ago. Experts say if you are really in to this, you should travel to Kentucky, because that is where you will get the best view.
No thanks. No traveling for me. I’m perfectly happy sitting in front of the computer watching others look skyward.