Friday, August 1, 2008

A dragon eats the Sun

This morning there was a solar eclipse that passed over the northern parts of the globe. The entire event was broadcasted online via NASA's Exploratorium with AMAZING images! This extremely natural event seems very unnatural when you observe it (I remeber one during 6th grade...eire is the word that comes to mind). Imagine knowing that the sun is high in the sky, but its 10 degrees cooler that normal and everything is cast into darkness is hast. Thinking about what it would be like to witness the disappearance of the sun and its life giving light without the aid of science to explain what is happening, it is no wonder ancient people were terrified by it and thought that an eclipse was a bad omen. In ancient China, it was believed that a dragon took flight and ate the sun. The people would bang drums and pots to scare away the dragon and return the sun. Even in the last 100 years people would still fire cannons in the hopes of chasing away the hungry dragon and restore our life source. Some societies today even warn through TV and radio that parents should keep their children indoors during an eclipse so that the evil spirits that appear in the shadow of the moon do not kidnap the children.

While being indoors is one of the safest places during an eclipse, this is only to avoid the temptation of looking into the sun to see what is happening. The only safe time to view an eclipse without the aid of a filter is in its totality, when the entire sun is blocked out. It may only last a couple pf minutes, but that is when everything happens! During totality you can look directly at the sun and see the wonders of
'Bailey's beads'the 'diamond ring effect'

the corona (can only be seen during an eclipse)

and prominences.

The phenomenon was spectacular and the web cast can still be viewed here! Enjoy!

1 comment:

Amanda B. Young said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog! I can't believe that happened to your uncle! Did he know about it? Did anyone notice and/or catch it on film? That's too funny! I had really wondered if it ever ACTUALLY happened.

Anyway, I hope you'll keep reading!
Amanda "The Blissful Bride"