Monday, August 21, 2017

Missing out on the eclipse yet again; yet I think I’ll survive the moment

Maybe I’m just not adventurous enough, but I’m not amongst the many thousands of people whom the greater Carbondale metropolitan area is counting on to provide an economic jolt on Monday.
Theoretically, this is the ideal image people will see

All those out-of-towners who are showing up in Southern Illinois in hopes of finding a spot where when the solar eclipse occurs, they’ll be able to see the scarce site of the Sun being totally blocked out by the Moon.

ADMITTEDLY, THAT EVENT will only last for a few moments. The darkened sky will disappear within minutes, and daylight will return to all of us on Monday.

If it doesn’t, then of course we will have experienced a catastrophic event that likely will wipe out all life in existence on this planet. We’ll have far bigger concerns than whether the dark will go away.

Anyway, I didn’t try to make the trip to the land known to the locals as Egypt – largely because I think that trip is ridiculously long. Illinois is a much larger state than people usually credit it for; some 500 miles north to south and 350 miles east to west.

Consider all the Chicago-area people who chose to attend college at the University of Illinois and who think the trip to Urbana is one deep into the Land of Lincoln. Then consider that drive isn’t even the half-way point to places like Carbondale and Murphysboro.

IT’S A DAY-long trip to get there, and a day-long event to drive back. And if you think that flight somehow saves you time, a plane to St. Louis puts you about a three-hour drive away from the optimum sites to see the darkened skies.
Did you buy? Or find a freebie pair?

So I’ll pass, although for what it’s worth, my father and step-mother are amongst those people making the sojourn to Southern Illinois. They even managed to get free pairs of the special dark-lensed glasses that you’re supposed to use to protect your eyes when you look directly into the sun.

Yes, it seems the Adler Planetarium made glasses available without charge – which probably burns the toast, so to speak of those individuals who turned to and shelled out as much as 12 bucks for a pair of cardboard shades that make them look like Biff’s sidekick in the “Back to the Future” film.

Or those people who turned to Wal-mart, which advertised on their website that the normal price was $19.99, but that they were discounting them to $9.99 – and as of Saturday were completely sold out.
Biff and his buddies

MAYBE PART OF the reason I’m not up for this excuse for a road trip is that I have to confess to having been around for the last time that the moon blocked the view of the sun back in 1979.

Yet I honestly have only the vaguest recollections of that event having occurred. I certainly don’t remember the sky suddenly darkening as though the Sun ceased to exist!

I honestly believe that many people who make the trip are going to be seriously disappointed by what they see. I only hope they build in some time to their extended weekend so they can check out some of the uniqueness of Southern Illinois so as to make their drive there and back home worthwhile.

Personally, I’m more inclined to think the unique sight could come from right here in Chicago, where we’re not going to see a total eclipse – we’re at the wrong angle so all we’re going to see is a partial one.

I’M STILL TRYING to figure out if it’s worth my trying to take some image – since I’ll be the first to admit to not being worth much as a photographer and that the “camera” I’d be using is a cheap one that usually comes up with passable images on occasions where there are optimal natural lighting conditions.
Watching the eclipse near where I-57 and 70 intersect?

Yet by its very definition, a total eclipse is going to block out all the light.

Which is why I’m sure there will be many millions of people who will be sticking their cell phones in the sky hoping to capture an image that will wind up being blurred and unidentifiable.

Kind of like all those “selfies” that get taken of people supposedly with a celebrity – only the thumb conveniently covers up the prime spot that would have been interesting.


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