Although media coverage of the Aug. 21 eclipse steadily increases, here are insights on eclipses you might not find otherwise:

 Instead of traveling to see the imminent eclipse, perhaps wait for the total eclipse of April 18, 2024. It will cross Maine and last longer.

Don’t photograph eclipses. To non-scientists, the point should be the spectacle, far more memorable than pictures of a circle.

My wife and I learned that from using a camera when we experienced a total eclipse over Nantucket from our old Cessna on March 7, 1970, and from not using a camera when we witnessed a total eclipse over Prince Edward Island from our plane on July 10, 1972. There, we saw the vast moon shadow sweeping over the ocean toward us at about 1,500 mph.

All became black except for the corona, a few lights below and a brilliant sunrise-sunset around the horizon. Soon, sunlight raced toward us as the umbra (shadow) sped away. Hardly any media and internet accounts deal with the psychedelic impact of eclipses.

These articles explain why witnessing an eclipse can even lead to eclipse addiction: Google “steve mirsky when the sun disappears” or “andrew weil when the sun dies.”


A total eclipse is best seen from a high place. There, you can see the moon’s shadow swiftly approaching and leaving minutes later. If you’re up high enough, you can see the sunset-sunrise all around the horizon.

I was 7 during the total eclipse of Aug. 31, 1932, when our confused Maine roosters crowed at the apparent dawn following an apparent nightfall. I’m looking forward to the 2024 eclipse.

Dick Dreselly


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