July 23, 1917–today is new moon day. The dance of summer continues with sun and clouds, floods and rain, and increased humidity from growing corn fields. In backyard gardens, tomatoes and peppers are ripening. In the papers, there are back-to-school ads. It’s high summer. On average, these are the hottest days of the year, here.
This new moon begins a new lunar cycle, or lunar month. The next new moon will be part of the total solar eclipse on August 21. You can read my first post about it, here.
People are calling it The Great American Eclipse. There are countless websites devoted to it. NASA will be live streaming the eclipse, as well.
Hotels along the path have been booked for months. Carbondale, IL will be having an eclipse festival. Eclipse enthusiasts and experts have been planning for this eclipse for years. Even if you are not one of those people, perhaps you, too, are feeling the excitement.
There are T-shirts, posters and other souvenirs to commemorate the event. You can see some of them here in this photo gallery by Debbie Carlson for the Chicago Tribune. Why such a big deal? A total solar eclipse doesn’t happen all that often, and to have the path of totality cross the heart of the US mainland is an event of a lifetime.
August 21, 2017 will fall on a Monday. The moon shadow will move from west to east. For times across the eclipse path, see the NASA website.
Carbondale, IL will have the longest duration of totality. There, the eclipse begins at 11:52 am. Totality begins at 1:20 pm and ends at 1:22.pm. At 2:47 pm, the eclipse ends.
For thousands of years, humans have been observing the patterns of the sun and moon, solstices and equinoxes and eclipses. Some of the earliest stone carvings in Mesopotamia, the UK and Mexico depict lunar and solar eclipses, alignments not unlike the diagram pictured above.
Yes, we are part of a much larger picture. There have been eclipses before us, and there will be eclipses long after we are gone. This is our time to marvel at the dance of the sun, the earth and the moon.