Pat Wahler

Penning stories to savor.

The Celestial Show

There’s nothing like August for celestial events.  It brings us the annual Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in my area August 12-13. Viewing the fun requires staying up past midnight, and is best enjoyed in an area where no “light pollution” dilutes the darkness. But seeing meteors whiz through the sky is worth it.

Perseid meteor August, 2016 in West Virginia. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

As a matter of fact, many days there are interesting things happening above our heads. Keeping track of it all isn’t easy. Luckily, NASA has a Sky Events Calendar that can give you the information you need for what’s happening. Click HERE for the link to the sky show in your area.

Speaking of a show, you may have heard a word or two about the Big Kahuna event of the summer – a total solar eclipse. We haven’t had a contiguous solar eclipse in the United States since 1979 (I remember using the nail hole in a shoe box method to view it) but one is coming on August 21. People are flocking to places where the eclipse will last the longest, and one of those places is my home town. Nothing like fun in your own back yard for watching a major event, right?

But hey, don’t forget those solar glasses. I worried a bit about the flimsy-looking cardboard devices I’ve seen. After all, I don’t want my eyesballs fried like a couple of eggs in a pan. So what’s a person to do?

Make sure your glasses are NASA approved! (Carbondale Tourism photo)

Well, for one thing, make sure your glasses are NASA approved. Click HERE for a list of solar glasses that will keep your vision intact. Oh, and don’t forget, if you want to take pictures of the eclipse, additional safety precautions are also required for your camera or the lens will cook.

I know. There’s so much to remember. For a nice concise roundup of dates, times, places, and procedures, NASA has set up a solar eclipse site to answer all your questions. Click HERE to learn from the professionals how to safely enjoy this sure-to-be-amazing experience.

In my digging for solar eclipse information, I ran across an interesting image (and story). On July 28, 1851, Johann F. Berkowski became the first person to successfully photograph a solar eclipse. Berkowski, considered one of Prussia’s most skilled daguerreotypists, was commissioned by the Royal Prussian Observatory. He captured an image of the sun by attaching a telescope to a heliometer, and making an eighty-four second exposure. His exacting efforts (no second chances when making a daguerreotype of a total solar eclipse) got him an amazing shot, and a place in history.

July, 1851-Pretty cool, huh? (J. Berkowski/Wikipedia Commons)

No matter your plans for the upcoming eclipse, I’m sure it will be an event to remember. I’ve even heard animal behavior could be affected by the “black-out”. Personally, I plan to keep an eagle eye on my critters. If they act any weirder than they normally do, I’ll let you know.

A final note: There’s a new recipe posted, courtesy of friend and fellow-writer, Lynn Obermoeller. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare for the Big Kahuna Event and still eat well with an easy-peasy plate of Crock Pot Chicken.

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  1. So cool! Thanks for all the info and links, Pat! I’m off to check them out. 🙂

    • Pat Wahler

      August 10, 2017 at 8:17 am

      I hope you find some useful information, Lisa. I noticed today the local media is really starting to amp up their coverage of the eclipse. The excitement builds!

  2. Donna Volkenannt

    August 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the great info. We are going to our farm in Osage County to watch the eclipse. It’s supposed to travel right overhead and we are hoping for clear skies that day.

    • Pat Wahler

      August 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Donna, it sounds like that will be a perfect spot. I hope everyone has their trusty NASA-approved viewers ready!

  3. Pat–

    As usual, you give your followers interesting information presented in a fascinating manner. From what I’ve read, the biggest danger will be avoiding the crazy people who stop on the side of the highway.

    At my school we’re having the 6-8 graders come out and view the eclipse. The younger ones will view it via the TV coverage. (We’re afraid those glasses will slip out of place.)

    Have a great weekend… and I look forward to seeing you at the Spencer Library…

    • Pat Wahler

      August 10, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Sioux, I bet the kids (and teachers!) will be thrilled. For the younger ones there’s always the shoe box method, which is really kind of cool, too.

  4. Thanks for the link to events in the universe. I hope teachers keep an eye on the little ones and don’t let them gaze up at the sky without appropriate glasses.

    • Pat Wahler

      August 22, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Me too, Ann. I’d be a wreck if I someone put me in charge of the vision of a group of kiddos.

  5. Katie is so worried about the eclipse. She might be one of the only people in St. Louis who can’t wait for it to be over. We have practiced with the glasses. They have practiced at school, but she is so worried about burning her eyeballs…last night there were even tears.

    • Pat Wahler

      August 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Margo, I’m with Katie. It worried me too, but the experience was truly amazing. Hope Katie is pleased with getting to be a part of such a big event.

  6. The solar eclipse was breathtaking. I believe I stared at the sun unprotected for a few seconds with no side effects!

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