Ramble Log

This is my ramble about various topics. You will see them listed in reverse order that I write them so that the newest entries are on top.

NOTE: These are whatever I feel like writing. The content frequently expresses my own opinions and nothing should be considered an absolute fact. It's up to YOU to verify the validity of any thing said here.

Note also that I won't intentionally lie to you. I will always give this my best effort to be factual. If you have any questions about anything here drop me an email at: - I am NOT looking for rants, critiques, or corrections. You can expect me to ignore any of these.

Solar Eclipse - Apr 8, 2024

Well, it turns out that the Solar Eclipse today provided my first true view of a TOTAL eclipse. I didn't have to travel anywhere other than my backyard.

Now, I came close to being in the path of totality of the August 21, 2017 eclipse. I was traveling the west in a camper with my friend Dave and I had picked out a good looking spot to park the camper and view the eclipse. I had two pair of solar eclipse glasses (I still have them somewhere - they'll show up any day now) and a plan for our trip to be there on the right day. Unfortunately plans were delayed and we only made it to a campsite in Oregon a bit south of the totality path. We did see the eclipse but not in all of it's total glory.

After that eclipse I checked on when the next one would be - April 8, 2024. Not all that long to wait. In particular, the path of totality covered my house. I would not need to do any traveling to see it.

This being northeast Ohio I also knew that weather could be an issue in April. But as it turned out the weather gods were smiling on me and the cloud cover dissipated (mostly) and I was able to view the spectacular event mostly unhindered by the light cloud cover.

Sitting in my backyard with my camera on a tripod (with a pair of solar glasses for the camera taped to a specially 3d printed lens cap with an appropriate hole in it) I awaited the show. I also had an audio recorder running so I could capture the sounds around me and chime in with commentary. The camera worked for a while but the battery died and it turned out that the two backup batteries were also dead. I had checked them but it turns out that there was a charging problem. I suspect contact contamination and since I hadn't used the charger for some time there is no surprise there. I got a few shots before totality but when the battery quit I just resigned to direct observation only. Not the worst thing that could happen.

As totality approached I was observing the sounds around me as well as the general light level. The birds were chirping away as usual and I could hear a dog barking a short distance away. About a minute before totality I noted that the light level was darkening and also noted a drop in temperature (It was about 21°C at the start - that's 70°F).

As totality started I noticed the 'diamond ring' effect and knew I could ditch the solar glasses for a while. The corona appeared and would be the only light if the skies were clear - which they weren't. There was some scattering through the thin clouds from ahead of the eclipse keeping things dimly lit.

I watched as the eclipse continued and the sky darkened revealing Venus (I think - it was quite bright and in the right spot) to the west. Most of the birds were still chirping away. I continued to watch as the eclipse progressed and didn't see any change for a couple of minutes or so. The general light level did seem to darken and probably about half of the birds got quiet. A few seconds before the end of totality I noticed the general light level was brightening and I was curious about that. It turned out that the clouds to the south were brightening and illuminating the landscape.

I had my eclipse glasses ready and it wasn't long before I witnessed a second 'diamond ring' effect. I knew it was time to put the glasses back on then and I continued to observe until about half of the area of the sun's disk was exposed again.

It was an amazing experience. Totality is FAR better than any other eclipse experience (see https://xkcd.com/2914) and if you ever get the chance make sure you don't miss it. The next good one in the US will be on August 12, 2045 with the path running across the entire continent just a bit south of the middle of the US. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_12,_2045 for details. I hope to be able to watch this one when the time comes.

Don't pass up an opportunity to watch any eclipse though. The partial ones may not be nearly as exciting but they can still offer some excitement. The 2017 eclipse that I observed was one of those for me and it was interesting to watch the animals (we were camped next to a farm) as the eclipse approached and receded.

A Clean Slate - Apr 8, 2024

Time to revive this. Today seems like a good place to start.

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