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August 22nd, 2017

The Great Keebler Toasted Eclipse of 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, our area experienced a 76% partial solar eclipse. I found myself quite excited about the whole thing. It conveniently fell in substantial part during my lunch hour. I tried out my home-made cereal-box pinhole projector with mixed results.  The folks at the office next door had a similar contraption that worked better.

But the unequivocal hero of my day proved to  be a box of Keebler Toasteds, a form of cracker. I used this to create a "Ritz pinhole device", i.e., an eclipse viewer,  by projecting the sun's rays through the holes in the cracker and onto a piece of cardstock card. The result was splendid. Each little cracker hole permitted the projection of a little eclipsed sun image onto the card. As the first part of the eclipse began, I could see it begin with a little disk transit. I was able to go out just near the peak eclipse, and the images through the cracker were grand. I could see the radically-partially-eclipsed sun image (dozens, actually, because of the cracker methodology---dozens of tiny suns on cardstock). One great thing about the Keebler method is that one could share it--I handed out crackers and cardstock to the folks in my office as well as to sundry passersby. At peak eclipse, the temperature got a little cooler and it looked like late in the afternoon. But this effect was transitory.

In the morning, I heard from my wife in Kansas City. A morning storm endangered their hopes of seeing the total eclipse. But by eclipse time, it cleared.   She was among lots of people in Lake Weatherby, Missouri, floating in the lake with "floaties", watching the eclipse. She reported it to be a wonderful experience.  The storm held off until the totality had passed. I am so pleased she got to experience that.  For some reason, I did not have a lot of interest in taking a day off for that. I am glad I made that choice. I got some things done I wanted to get done.

I had such a good time with my non-glasses gizmos in my work parking lot. I learned from other friends of other ways I could have done it--two friends used a collander, my physics Ph.D. friend did creative things with binoculars projected on the ground, and one client's employee reported on use of the "tree method" (though I did see some of the tree effect early during the eclipse).

The only danger in the Keebler Toasted astronomical approach is that the crackers taste pretty darn good.

I found myself unaccountably fascinated by the whole thing. It had a Citizen Science feel that appealed to me. I I looked up upcoming eclipses. I see a total lunar eclipse in January 2018. It takes place in the wee hours of the morning, ending in mid-morning. I hope I remember to watch it. The next total solar eclipse here in north Texas is in 2024. If I am around then, I will enjoy seeing it, crackers in hand.

In other news, I aired up my tires (thereby satisfying my car's warning system), got a bill payment in the mail, and managed to get to the gas station before my gasoline tank went to empty. So I suppose I was not a total casualty of the eclipse.

Breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk
Lunch: turkey sandwich and baked chips
Dinner: grilled chicken, green beans, kernel corn and a chocolate chip cookie
(eclipse extra: Keebler Toasted Crackers)

(lovingly copied by hand from Dreamwidth by the LiveJournal cyber-angels)

bluebirds in august

I walked at lunch in Breckinridge Park. I saw lots of Eastern Bluebirds. As I turned onto the access road to go to work, I saw a man on the street corner. He held a well-designed wooden sign with the neatly-painted "Jesus is the Only Way" printed upon it.

I was glad my wife returned from Kansas. We ate salmon and couscous.

breakfast: instant oatmeal
lunch: 3 soft chicken tacos
dinner: salmon, couscous

(lovingly copied by hand from Dreamwidth by the LiveJournal cyber-angels)

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