Photo of a projection onto a screen through a telescope of the early part of the 21 Aug 2017 eclipse. Two groups of sunspots are visible—a cluster of three near the center, and a cluster of two near the bottom edge.
Eclipses come in two varieties. The first kind occurs because our moon is the solar system’s odd duck.
For example, it travels a special orbit. Like ballroom choreography that looks simple until close inspection, the Moon only appears to orbit the Earth. In fact, it orbits the Sun. The Earth, 80 times heaver than the Moon, moves steadily on its course about the Sun. But the Moon weaves rhythmically either side of the Earth’s orbit, first outside farther from the Sun, then in front of the Earth, then inside closer to the Sun, and then trailing the Earth. The two dancers interlock gravity arms and sway in 29-day rhythm.
Our lights pollute the night sky, denying us a clear look at the ‘Big Picture’
Get away! Escape! Man-made lights—suburbs, cities, car lots, malls, stadiums, soccer fields and freeways— invade the sky, stealing the ‘Big Picture.’
Run to the country side. Climb the mountains. Search out a dark field. Look up at night sky.
Imagine two things: first, your feet firmly fastened to Earth. Second, turn it over so ground is up, sky is down. Now hanging from the planet, stop looking at a flat, speckled mat. Instead, peer into the deep vault of heaven. Dive into the sea of stars, each a local neighbor.
Seeking a Higher Perspective