Back when I was a boy about the age we call ‘tween’ today I looked to the sky and found it extremely interesting.
While some might have been learning the correct technique to throw a little league curve ball, I was studying the moons of Jupiter in my evenings. I could then point out a variety of constellations when it was good and dark. I knew why Betelgeuse was red and Sirius was blue on a clear night. And I had stood in the cold and wondered why they only called them the “Seven Sisters” when there are in fact hundreds of stars in that cluster.
But I would only see in the books I owned - a total solar eclipse.
Because that simple function of planetary geometry is - simultaneously - the easiest and hardest astronomical oddity to see.
You just have to be in the right place at the right time and look up. Which is easy because you need no telescope. No binoculars. No map of the heavens. No right ascension or declination. It’s just there. But - you have to be in the right place at the right time. Period.
As a boy I vowed I would one day take in the experience in person.
So that is why I excused myself from the radio program, which I am very devoted to. Why I for months blocked out the date to be sure there would be no photo sessions. Why I spent hours looking for the best spot that was easiest to get to - with a couple of alternates in hopes of avoiding cloud cover. Why I dug out the old telescope that I suspected might be broken (it wasn’t). Why I purchased and assembled solar filters for both telescope and camera - and purchased those eclipse glasses months ago.
Here's what I brought home:
I want to go do it again tomorrow.