We, like to think that Celestials occurrences will last forever. In truth this can not happened because the Universe is moving. Earth is moving, to have day and night, it rotates. To make the seasons; it translates around the Sun in its orbit. It is so special the way we move in sync with Earth, that we know, that when in the northern part of the world is Winter, in the southern part is Summer.
If suddenly the Earth stopped; everyone standing at the equator would suddenly find themselves travelling at 1.4 times the speed of sound because the surface of the Earth is moving at 1070 miles/hr. Also in that sudden stop the water of the oceans would rise like Tsunamis. Yes, definitely we do not want that, nevertheless we can not only image it but also calculate it with the help of some Physics laws equations.
Our star, the sun also moves, and the moon too, sometimes we can see both in rare sunsets with some far away bright stars like special sparkling decorations of the moment. We see the sky in awe. Sometimes the Sun and the Moon aligned with Earth, it had been happened for many, many thousands of years, but it will not happen forever. Nowadays we live in a special time where the distance between the Sun, the Moon and Earth is good for make this super trick.
On Monday, August 21; all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Or alignment of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun; which means that the Moon is going to cover the Sun in the morning, like at ten in the morning for the West Coast. Three translational trajectories will be perfectly positioned in a straight line, like, they will be in sync. We will see also other planets with a special clarity that the moon will provide while covering the sun shining over Earth.
Oh! What a treat indeed! For my life this eclipse has not been the first or the most important. Yet all of the eclipses have thrilled members of my family. This memories began on March 7 of 1970, I was a kid, and my parents travel 12 hours to be able to see the solar eclipse at the time. It was something like this; the shadow over the sun was 95 miles wide. The alignment began its journey in the Pacific Ocean, crossed the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Miahuatlàn; Oaxaca, Mexico through the Gulf of Mexico, the peninsula of Florida, the east coast of the United States and ended in the North Atlantic. It lasted 3 minutes and 28 seconds. All eclipses had the path with the form of band in the skies, if you are located in that path, you are able to observe this magnificent phenomenon .
I remember all the children of the family stayed home while my parents and uncle were amazed by the experience, they returned as soon as it ended with long hours of driving. They were transfixed, I saw the most excited faces I had ever seen; it lasted a blink.
While they were gone, we received a mysterious call telling us that they have had an accident and we needed to help to rescue them. We were with my very old Granny and she couldn’t leave us alone, then my other grandparents were called and tried to help. They came to our house, open the garage and let my uncle’s wife and her mother, take his car that was left at my house.
The problem as you can figured out is that it wasn’t true. We were scared and sad. It seemed that was our fault. The car was gone; my parents were furious; in the end my uncle divorced.
Years passed; I was a Professor in the National Autonomous University of Mexico. As an engineer I was excited for the eclipse that was coming almost at the end of the semester and all the class too. We calculated our possibilities for the best spot to see the eclipse. I knew, near Cuernavaca, Morelos México were clear skies almost all the time. But you see, it was an extracurricular activity; so I let the students to vote for other spots that were kind of promising. Part of the class decided to go to a second place, a mountainous one.
The great moment arrived, on July 11, 1991. I saw a total eclipse. It was the longest solar eclipse. Until the 22d century will be another that long.
That day we were at a new zoo, that was the exact location, in the middle of the plains, with large telescopes for our contemplation of the blue skies. In the next hill was the President of México whose team had chosen the same area and across the zoo. We were surrounded by astronomers who explained to us all the little details of this event. We were equipped with filters and different tools to see the eclipse before the totality. You can not see it with naked eye, because you burn your retinas. When totality occurred; we saw the most beautiful diamond ring in the sky with two Baily’s Beads that looked like two brilliant pearls. It was the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century. Its totality lasted for 6 mins and 39 secs.
We felt the nocturnal breeze, the animals of the night started buzzing. The bats at the zoo retrieved their winds, went upside down on the branches and went to sleep. It was a dark sky with a jewel in the sky. We were totally speechless, during our way back. We witnessed an absolute wonder of wonders.
The next session in class, we showed our photos of the event from the two groups. The group that went to the mountains had lots, and lots of clouds. They saw nothing at all also because it rained most of the time. They were sad and frustrated.
After all, the best student of the class, alias “The Red” because of his hair, told me that I had gained his utmost respect for life. Yeah! That eclipse was like that.
Well, well, well; what is going to happen with the third eclipse of my life? I prepared for this one, by taking a course, and a workshop. I have special glasses, filters for my binoculars, and my camera. I have a book and the author signed it. Part of my family lives in Seattle, so they live 4 hours away to the best place for the West Coast to see the eclipse that is in Madras, Oregon; less than 3 hours away from Portland. There will be a special session from the astronomers of The Lowell Observatory on Sunday, and on Monday there will be a high school football campus reserved for the group I was going to be with. Yes, they were beautiful plans that are changed due to previous engagements and occurrences.
I will be at CSULB teaching the last session of the Summer Session of The Social Media class I teach in the computer lab under the OLLI program in the afternoon, at noon I will be playing the Ukulele. Around the time of the eclipse, at more or less 10 in the morning; maybe I will look at the sky with my special glasses, hoping to have clear skies which is not the case because I live very close to the beach with cloudy skies and soft breeze, and/or having a live streaming of the event from the observatory and recording the effect of the eclipse on the creatures that live around the trees of my house.
Some time far away from now, the Last Total Solar Eclipse will be sighted, like in the far away future. No more alignment. The Celestials movements will come apart. The last eclipse will occurred in about 563 million years from now. Maybe humans will be different from us, or will be we on Earth? Will humans exist? Really, we do not know. A famous scientist said we only have a 1000 years left on Earth. If we don’t scape, he stated; our extinction will have a great likelihood of occurrence.
In the meantime there is another big probability to enjoy another eclipse. The next total solar eclipse over North America visits Mexico, the United States, and Canada on April 8, 2024. Then I saw it, now who knows? I hope to see you there!