Not sirloin tips, which would probably be more fun, these are suggestions for enjoying the first coast to coast solar eclipse in almost a century. Living in Charleston SC, the very end of “the Path of Totality”, I’ve had a unique opportunity to be exposed to suggestions about the solar eclipse 24/7, on every media outlet. For those of you worldwide who have escaped this Chinese water torture of media, I have a short list of hints to save you time when you have a chance to see an eclipse.
First some definitions. “Path of totality” refers to the distance between a weight watchers group and the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts as well as the 70 mile wide swath of country where you can see 100% of the eclipse. The “corona” is a Mexican beer which surrounds the sun sans lime. The “penumbra” is part of an umbrella with a pen as the shaft and the “umbra” is the Crayola crayon color nobody liked or really new what it was. This is the color of the eclipse. Other more astronomically based definitions of these terms are neither helpful nor useful.
Spoiler alert- during an eclipse, it gets dark for two minutes and then light again. This confuses everything from birds to crickets to humans to TV news people. To wait a VERY long time for two minutes of pleasure is like, well, you ladies know what I’m talking about.
So, here’s my tips:
1. Go outside to watch the eclipse. Inside buildings, the roof will block the eclipse
2. Once outside, look up. The sun and moon are in the sky, a fact which you only forget during an eclipse. As you can see from these tips, an approaching eclipse reduces IQ steadily as it gets closer.
3. Like tip number one, do not look up with things blocking your view- trees, buildings, or the weight watchers headed to Dunkin’ Donuts. Again, you won’t be able to see the eclipse.
4. You can look at the sun before, after or during the eclipse but you’ll go blind. Permanently. I’m guessing mother’s who gave the same admonishment to their sons if they masturbated in the 1950’s must have also seen an Eclipse. (You can not just watch the sun till you need glasses).
5. While I know the command “do not stare at the sun”, sounds so silly, an eclipse seems to have the same effect that beer does in choosing relationship partners right before bar closing and makes people think they can, indeed, stare at the sun. You can however watch the eclipse, with special glasses that look like 3D movies glasses from the 60’s if they are NASA ISO USA NANU NANU Approved; understanding that there is really no way to know the difference between glasses which will protect your eyes and those that fraudulently don’t. If after using the glasses, you can’t see anything, Amazon will give you a refund.
6. Unless you are a professional photographer with $40,000 worth of special equipment and the inability to live in the moment, do not try to photograph the eclipse, because…it’s dark. (And before or after dark, pictures of the sun just look like blobs of light, which I’m sure you’ve never experienced before in a photograph.)
7. If you’re planning to travel far to see one, as estimates of a million people who have spent thousands in air, hotel and travel expenses to come to South Carolina for the eclipse, I have one word for you. Clouds.
8. Lastly, you will see some people describe it as a goose bump, hair raising life altering experience and some shrug their shoulders with a “whatever” kind of look. Yes, when it’s all said and done, a total solar eclipse is a teenager’s first prom astronomical kind of event.