This pre-publication draft is Copyrighted by Bruce A. Martin/ABCD unlimited. All rights reserved!
This document is under construction
ۥ-!@ - l j $ $$ $ $ $ $ 2 Startling Coincidences of Our Universe

CATEGORY: Coincidences in Nature.

Solar Eclipse.

People on any planet look up at the sky and daily watch the sun rise in what they call the "East" and set in the "West". However, if the planet has one or moons, it is possible that a moon could briefly cross the straight line between the sun and your eyeball, and block out some or all of the light. If the moon is very big and/or close, it could entirely blot out the sun for a long time by casting a large shadow where you stand. A moon which is very small and/or far away would briefly cast a tiny, narrowing umbra, that might become so small when it reached you that most of the sun's light would simply go around it, making the sun's light diminish but not disappear.

If the apparent disk of the sun is much larger than the apparent disk of the moon, then most of the sun's light would still reach you. If the apparent disk of the shadowing moon is much larger than that of the sun, then the light is completely extinguished -- as is the case when our large Earth casts a big shadow on our small, nearby moon, and all of the people on the entire night side of our planet witness a "lunar eclipse" for hours. Interesting, but pretty boring after the eclipse is total -- it's just dark where the moon used to be (Well, there is a bit of a glow from earthlight refracted by our atmosphere). On the moon, it would be even more boring, after the sun completely disappeared. ++++?

Therefore, when a moderately small moon gets between us and the sun, it makes a big difference which apparent disk is bigger. But what if the apparent disks of the light and of the shadow are approximately the same size? Wow!! That means that the sun will be fully blocked out, but only just. The big light disk is completely blocked out but that doesn't leave us in darkness for two reasons:

  1. Some of the light rays that were not aimed directly at your eye will hit the atmosphere somewhere outside of the moon's shadow and scatter thru the atmosphere to reach your eyes as a glow surrounding the big black circle.
  2. If the moon's disk is hardly bigger than the sun's, you may see some bright white light from the stuff that sticks out beyond the sun's surface. Jets of solar material, called "prominences", may extend tens of thousands of miles

+++++++ Add paragraphs describing eclipses in NC  & NS ... 
Circular sunset.
Birds skim low.
Insects cheep.
Bands on ground.
Bailey's beads.
+ Fires spring up!!

The amazing thing is that, for us Earthlings, in this era, the apparent disks of the sun and the moon are approximately the same size! The sun is roughly 100 times as wide (and tall) as the earth, so its area is 10,000 times as great. The moon is about 1/4 of the Earth's diameter, but it is about 400 times closer to us than the sun, so the two apparent disks are about the same size. The odds of these numbers working out so perfectly are, forgive the pun, astronomical. And it will all chage within a few million years. So, consider yourself infinitely fortunate that you live on the right planet in the right epoch, and if at all possible, catch yourself a total solar eclipse! The effect of a total solar eclipse is truly spectacular. It is nothing at all like the effect of a partial (even a 95%) solar eclipse:

Why don't we see 12 or 13 solar eclipses (i.e. one each time there is a "New Moon")? Well, the moon's orbit is not quite circular, so the distance from Earth varies a bit, and its orbital plane is tipped about 5 degrees from ours, so sometimes its shadow misses us by going out into space above the North Pole or below the South Pole. The net result is that there are only about total two solar eclipses per year, each cutting a curvy path somewhere across the daylight side of the surface of the earth. (Most of the earth's surface is ocean. In fact, there will be no more total eclipses visible from North America this century.). The path is only dozens of miles wide, and the maximum total eclipse at any one spot is only about 7 minutes.

The Backside of the Moon.

Russian Mechta photos.

(Surface material??  LEM legs for dust.)

+++ cartoon of stage set?

Man in Space

The initials of the first American in space (Alan Shepard) and the first man on the moon (Neil Armstrong) are an anagram of the initials of the agency which employed them (NASA). Shepard was the only Mercury astronaut who also went to the moon. ?????????????

The last names of the first American in orbit and the first Russian in orbit both start with the same letter (Glenn and Gagarin); both endured G-forces to reach the zero-G environment of orbital flight. However, while their first names (Yuri and John) do not begin with the same letter. (In Russian, John becomes Ivan, which begins with a letter that looks like our backwards N, while Yuri begins with a letter that looks like the number 10.)

Trikadecaphobia in Space

Apollo XIII .....

DOS mode.
$NE        S     @      @ 
 B~P ~$   L  P   /   =     zP H 7  8L   [ F   G  ? @
?   a        0    KEYBOARD WEP   KERNEL 
 J  n         
 < [ 
     ?   Startling Coincidences of Our Universe

CATEGORY:  Coincidences in Nature.

Solar Eclipse.
	People on any planet look up                 : F   * @ V l                >

+++++ Transfer interrupted!

This pre-publication draft is Copyrighted by Bruce A. Martin/ABCD unlimited. All rights reserved! Back to home page