Ah, finally here. The much heralded, much hyped total eclipse of the sun running through a big chunk of America. Of course total eclipses happen on Earth about every two years or so, but seldom just traverse America. Because of this America is paying a lot of attention. It will be quite the event that will encompass the entire lower forty-eight to one degree or another.
For millennia man viewed solar eclipses with fear and superstition. It was often associated in the mind as a terrible portent, sometimes feared as a harbinger of the apocalypse (well, maybe more appropriate again). An eclipse could alter the fate of battles and rulers and empires. [And is the triggering plot point for a terrific stage musical – can you name it?] Today we understand the science of it and it will be televised as another side show. Yet the science of climate change and the threats to our planet are still dismissed by a number of our citizens as fiction, including too many people with political power. They are much more comfortable with superstition and denial.
Many of these points are made much more elequantly by the fabulous Neil deGrasse Tyson. Want to get smarter? Read him. Follow him. Study his writing and media appearances. Now I just want an hour one-on-one with Neil to better understand this whole gravity thing. Every time I get close to understanding it I have new questions and I’m still trying to get a handle on it, relatively speaking.