As we embark on our journey through the cosmos, let’s start with a place that we all know well. Planet Earth. From our incredible vantage point, we can observe the universe around us and even experience the effects that neighboring celestial bodies have on our lives. Allow me to take you back to several years ago when our planet witnessed a remarkable celestial event. Although this event occurs yearly as observed from our planet, this time the event was personal. As an active astronomer would do, I got out all my tech equipment and recorded this incredible celestial wonder from my backyard.
In August 2017, a Total Solar Eclipse overtook the United States. I was fortunate as my property lay directly in the path of totality. Observing a total solar eclipse from my backyard was a thrill of a lifetime. While many had to journey to be in the shadow of the moon, I had to do nothing more than step out my back door.
If anyone followed the link from my blog on keeping chickens, The Kuntry Klucker, you are well aware that I have backyard chickens. In addition to taking pictures with my telescope, I chronicled the reaction of my flock to the waning daylight during the eclipse. Below are stills taken from a time-lapse video that I recorded of the girl’s reaction to the sky darkening at mid-day.
The girls were indeed a bit confused by the sky darkening in the middle of the day. As the sky began to darken, the flock made their way to the coop in an effort to begin roosting. No further did they make it into their pen before the moon traversed the sun, daylight resuming once more.
The reaction to the evening setting in on their busy afternoon of hunting and pecking was not only educational but entertaining. The flock was confused as daylight waned only to resume several minutes later. The wild birds also observed the same roosting behavior, settling into roosting in anticipation of approaching nightfall.
In addition to observing the behavior of my girls, I captured other interesting aspects of the total solar eclipse that day.
I observed the eclipse on my hammock as my telescope and computer recorded other aspects of the eclipse. Here crescent-shaped shadows can be seen between the leaves of the shade tree above me. As the shadow of the moon advanced over the disk of the sun, the crescent shapes on my hammock likewise decreased in size. This allowed me to safely view the progression of the eclipse while my tech equipment recorded the actual events.
Below are chronological order stills of the eclipse I recorded with the aid of a solar filter.
As the moon’s shadow crept further and further in front of the Sun, I noticed several things.
First, as these two celestial spheres appeared to intersect, radiating heat felt from the Sun was greatly diminished. A 90+ degree day cooled down to a pleasant 80-degree day.
Secondly, neighborhood floodlights began to turn on as did the landscape solar lights around my coops. I can only describe the light from the sun at this point as a virtual Mist World.
It was a surreal feeling as I witnessed one of nature’s most dynamic shows. This event was one for the record books, I still am stunned by the photos.
As I gazed upon the total eclipse, I marveled at the perfect size/distance relationship between these two celestial bodies. I was overwhelmed with wonder and amazement as I stood in my backyard and gazed up at the shadow of the Moon.
Our little part of the universe is indeed an amazing place. Even as amazing as this event was, it is only the beginning of our discovery into deep and further parts of the universe in which our Solar System is only one tiny part.
I have a lot of fun and educational posts in store for this blog. But before we journey to far from home, we need to understand the platform on which we observe the universe around us.
Next time, I will introduce you to the celestial sphere, and use this aid to help you understand our unique vantage point. Understanding this model will help us on our cosmic adventure as we uncover the knowledge of the spheres.