Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I just came back from taking a walk to grab a fàn tuán (飯糰) for breakfast. I purposely timed my walk to coincide with today's solar eclipse, its maximum coverage of 82.5% occurring at 9:40am in my area.

People were gathered in the park and on the sidewalk with their special glasses to view the event. I brought along a makeshift pinhole camera (just a piece of paper with small holes punched in it) but it didn't work so well. A friendly guy on the corner let me use his viewing glasses at the time of maximum coverage. It was pretty cool to see the big 'bite' taken out of the sun. Appropriately, the Chinese word for solar eclipse (日蝕 rì shí) literally means "sun nibble." I marveled at the power of the sun, because even though at that moment we were receiving only 17.5% of the sun's light, I didn't perceive any lighting change in the area.

I learned something today: You don't need special glasses to see the effects of a solar eclipse. Just look at the shadows from trees. Sunlight passes through small spaces between the leaves, casting interesting crescent-shaped shadows

Click on photos to enlarge

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