Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gathering treasure

My sister Anne, who graces this blog with her Sunday illuminations, lives in a sweet adobe house on a New Mexican mesa. She was blessed with clear skies for Sunday’s annular eclipse of the Sun.

A “ring of fire” eclipse. The Moon, being near its farthest distance from the Earth, did not quite cover the Sun’s disk. The sky did not go nighttime dark, as during a total eclipse. The stars did not come out. The corona was not visible. But seeing the Sun as a thin ring of light was surely a thrill of a lifetime. I wish I had been there.

The eclipse began in southeast China, at dawn, and swept across much of Japan. Then a long arc across the northern Pacific, to touch land in northern California. Down across Nevada and northern New Mexico.

For Anne, the eclipse was visible on the northwest horizon just before sunset.

As you can see from the photo above (click to enlarge), the Sun and Moon showered her house with golden rings.

What made the rings? A cedar tree provided hundreds of tiny apertures; in effect, hundreds of pinhole cameras projected the eclipse onto the wall of her porch.

Who needs the wealth of the 1% when nature is so generous with its scattered treasure? I expect we might see Anne’s photo in one of her cyber transformations.

In November, daughter Mo and daughter-in-law Patty will be in northeast Australia for a total eclipse of the Sun. If they are lucky, they will catch the beginning of the eclipse just after sunrise in one of the few places where the path of totality touches land. This is another oceanic affair, which will end just off the coast of South America. Unfortunately, where they will be has about a 50-50 chance clouds that time of year. Let’s wish them luck.

This won’t be Mo’s first total eclipse; she was with us in Turkey in 2006. My blogging of that event began on March 23.