I think xkcd made a comic just for Mano!

Mano Singham is unenthused about the eclipse. Same here. It’s neat, would be an interesting phenomenon to observe, but I’m not going to travel out of my way to witness a few minutes of darkness. I also wouldn’t be seeing it as a scientist, but as a tourist, nothing more.

Fortunately, xkcd seems to share our views.

So if you’re going to make an effort to see the eclipse, have fun! Take pictures!

If you’re not going to see the eclipse, have fun! Enjoy a nice August day!


  1. eamick says

    Even xkcd overdoes it a bit with that “nearly once-in-a-lifetime” business. Total solar eclipses occur roughly every two years somewhere on the planet.

  2. Becca Stareyes says

    eamick @ 1

    Well, I live in the path of totality and I am an astronomer*, so the ‘once in a lifetime’ thing that I promote is more ‘hey, here’s a chance to see something really, really cool from your backyard’, since apparently most people do not plan vacations around solar eclipses. If you don’t chase them, total eclipses do happen less than once in a lifetime. (I usually also mention that 2024 will have a solar eclipse in road trip distance, though a bit less considering my last three presentations were at retirement homes, so most of the residents are a bit ‘seize the day’ about it. Today is schoolkids, and a general public talk, so I can play it up more)

    Given how much of my scientific work is about occultations, I need to start describing it as ‘looking at things going in front of other things’.

    * I’ve been very popular in the last week or so. I have two talks today, and then have a weekend to finish preparing for the fall term.

  3. Mark Dowd says

    This comic is the exact OPPOSITE of you guys. She’s very enthusiastic about the eclipse, in spite of the fact that there’s no scientific value in watching it.

  4. Mark Dowd says

    Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near the path of totality or that comic would have been enough get me more interested in it.

  5. doubter says

    My area will see a half-eclipse (50% coverage). I plan to pray to the sun god and sacrifice a chicken on the front lawn. Then when the Sun fails to be entirely covered, I’ll give each neighbor a chance to thank me personally.

  6. brucegee1962 says

    I saw a great t-shirt the other day:
    “Dear God, If you want us to get rid of Donald Trump, please send us a sign. Like, say, blot out the sun for a bit in the next week or so.”

  7. borax says

    But this eclipse is happening on the same day as a new moon.It is impossible that these two sky things have ever happened on the same day ever before.So while you hoity toity types may use your fancy little glasses to look up in the sky I’ll be hunkered down in my bunker (crawlspace) avoiding the Apocalypse… My local news made a big deal about this eclipse happening on a new moon.

  8. says

    Who said you can’t be enthusiastic about watching the eclipse? I’m just not enthusiastic enough to travel to see it, but my daughter is driving to Wyoming for it, and I think that’s cool and fun.

    The message here is that no matter how you feel about it, fine. Go for it.

  9. Artor says

    I live near the path, but I have a friend in Silverton, Oregon, who lives directly under the3path of totality. I’ll be joining him for a Sunday BBQ and overnight camping. We’ll have a viewing Monday morning, and then hangout for much of the day, as driving home is going to be a bit of a mess. We’ve already had huge traffic jams that close entire highways around here yesterday.

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re 7:
    I get you. Let’s have more “spooky fun”
    I use the Eclpse [sic] as the sign to eclipse our gold plated so-called ” president” by booting him out of office permanently. The universe is telling us to. The universe has an antiTrump bias. Eclipse both a sign and a WARNING, to throw that cheetah out.

  11. gorobei says

    To me, the rare eclipses are proof that God made the world. Like, if there were 10 moons and they were all really big, we’d have like 5 eclipses a day and everyone would always be running outside to have a look, and nobody would get any work done.

  12. busterggi says

    Yeah verilly eamick – this will be my third nearly total eclipse and I’ve seen all of them from right here in central Connecticut.

    I feel as though I’ve lived nearly three lifetimes but…

  13. Callinectes says

    I do not envy anyone trying to drive anywhere on Sunday and Monday in those areas..

  14. bachfiend says

    If you have the opportunity to see the total solar eclipse, don’t miss it. I travelled to Novosibirsk, Siberia to see the one on August 1, 2008 and it was fantastic. I’m planning on travelling to the Kimberley in Northern Australia for the one on July 22, 2028 which will have totality lasting for an incredible 5 minutes.

    Total solar eclipses are worth making the effort to experience, even travelling halfway around the world.

  15. tacitus says

    Traveling north 750 miles from Austin, TX over the weekend to see it. My house is in the path of the 2024 eclipse, so I wasn’t sure about going this time around, but who knows what will happen in those intervening seven years?

    I know several people who are making the trip, either because, like me, they have friends who live in the path, or are going to see it with family or friends. Apparently Bill Nigh will be hosting a public gathering nearby, so we may head over there to see it in the company of thousands of others. If nothing else, it should be a great communal event.

    Now, I wonder if they’ll have fans large and powerful enough to keep the clouds away..?

  16. archangelospumoni says

    How many good folks will use this as an excuse–er–reason to get stoned? Sounds just fine to me!

  17. consciousness razor says

    Looked at it through my #8 gold welding lens.

    But please, everyone, be warned, that is not safe:

    Experts suggests that one widely available filter for safe solar viewing is welders glass of sufficiently high number. The only ones that are safe for direct viewing of the Sun with your eyes are those of Shade 12 or higher. These are much darker than the filters used for most kinds of welding. If you have an old welder’s helmet around the house and are thinking of using it to view the Sun, make sure you know the filter’s shade number. If it’s less than 12 (and it probably is), don’t even think about using it to look at the Sun. Many people find the Sun too bright even in a Shade 12 filter, and some find the Sun too dim in a Shade 14 filter — but Shade 13 filters are uncommon and can be hard to find.

  18. says

    I altered my plan to drive from Austin TX to northern Missouri up I 35 when I thought of the possibility of a cloudy day. I’m currently in southwest St Louis and will go visit Cahokia tomorrow, which I’ve been meaning to do again. So the trip will still be worthwhile if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

  19. johnmarley says

    @consciousness razor (#20)

    Absolutely. Mine is shade 14. I tested it against the full sun yesterday morning (about 8am). It was pretty dim at first, but after a few minutes of adjustment, I could make out the line of the horizon, so I don’t think it will be too bad. (I live just off the path of totality. The magnitude is supposed to be 0.97 here. I (briefly) considered taking the day off and driving up to Casper, but no, you couldn’t pay me enough to endure those crowds. There are spillover tourists here in Rawlins already.)

  20. Ulgaa says

    I live close to someone who has a large property out in the boondocks, right under the totality. Just hoping it is not too cloudy to see.

  21. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Artor: Is that friend a veteran of working in science museums? Just asking.

  22. Chakat Firepaw says

    Even xkcd overdoes it a bit with that “nearly once-in-a-lifetime” business. Total solar eclipses occur roughly every two years somewhere on the planet.

    Doing some ballparking on how often one is close enough to not be something that requires a significant trip:

    Low figure: About 1 in 4 close enough east-west, 1 in 3 close enough north-south, gives one every 24 years.
    High figure: About 1 in 5 close enough east-west, 1 in 4 close enough north-south, gives one every 40 years.

    So that’s one every few decades, somewhere between 2 and 4 reasonable shots at going to one without flying a good chunk of the way around the world.