What's interesting to eclipse-chasers is the sense of anticipation. They start picking up that there's something not quite right. It's an element that can be hard to describe. It seems almost otherworldy. Nature seems off-balance, somehow, and animals know it. Humans, too, can pick up on this primitive instinct. It seems as if the rules of nature are being turned upside down. That can lead to a primal fear in humans; you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You may also get goosebumps. There's an ominous sense as the darkness starts to creep in. But then, as totality sets in, you find yourself standing there in the shadows looking up at the moon and you are overcome with awe. The spectacle of the eclipsed sun is amazing! I've seen several and each one is just as special as the one before. I'm very excited for Monday!
The emotion of awe involves vastness. Humans, and even us critters, can feel the sense of being insignificant...small in comparison to the greatness of the universe beyond us. The awe that we all feel during a total solar eclipse is unique. Why? because it is the vastness of the universe that we are experiencing. We get to witness the moon, a solar object, and its shadow as it passes over us. Many experts believe that this particular sense of awe is as great as we can feel, apart from looking down on Planet Earth from space. And not many of us will ever get to experience that!
And even though we may feel insignificant, we also feel a connection to everything out there. If we allow ourselves to feel it, we can sense how we are all one. As you watch the eclipse on Monday, think about the people in the other regions of the world watching this same phenomenon. Don't you feel apart of them? Of what they are experiencing? I know I do! When it's over we, ultimately, feel a sense of euphoria. Total eclipses offer a wide range of emotions; from fear, to awe, to euphoria, to a longing to do it all over again. Total eclipses happen about every 18 months but not everyone gets to witness every one. These total eclipses are only visible some places on the earth's surface.
I wouldn't be me if I didn't give you a list of something, and today's no different. So here are six bizarre things to look for as you watch the total solar eclipse this Monday.
1. Animals get confused. As soon as total eclipse begins, animals (and I know this first-hand) begin their evening songs and behaviors. And as the eclipse end, they begin their morning rituals all over again. If you live in the country, I'll bet you'll hear a rooster crow!
2. Stars and planets in the middle of the day. During the eclipse he sky will get dark enough so that the stars will be just as bright as they are in the evening. You'll even get to see planets like Venus and Jupiter easily.
3. Shadow bands. Right before the eclipse, you may notice little snake-like shadows that appear to slither across the ground. According to NASA, scientists are quite sure why these shadow bands happen. Some scientist believe, however, that they are caused by light from the eclipse being focused and refocused through cells of air in the atmosphere. Shadow bands are a rare sight during the eclipse, but you may be able to see them with the right equipment, timing and location.
4. Bailey's beads. Bailey's beads are pearls of sunlight shining through the valleys and mountains of the moon, explained Pickett. You'll see them around the edges of the moon as it passes over the sun. "The beads may look reddish in color, exposing the upper atmosphere of the sun, the chromosphere, or 'Sphere of Color," says Lawrence University physics professor, Meg Pickett.
5. Corona Rainbows. Corona Rainbows happen when the air is full of water molecules. Rainbows around an eclipse are cause by light shining through the water water. If it's raining on Monday, not to worry. If it stops raining, even for a little bit, you may luck out and see a Corona Rainbow. How awesome would that be?
6. 360-degree sunset. During totality, or when the sun is completely covered by the moon, you can see what looks like a sunset -- in every direction -- around the horizon. The strange 360-sunset effect happens because the sun is still shining outside the path of totality. I mean, really, how cool is that!!
I hope that each of you will have the opportunity to witness this awesome spectacle on Monday. Please view it safely, though. And as you watch the eclipse pass overhead, think about everyone, everywhere, who is doing exactly the same thing...including you's truly!
Let's use this time to build a bond of strength, brotherhood, and unity. For aren't we all one standing under this vast umbrella called space?
I wish you a weekend filled with peace and love.