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06/11/2002 Entry: "For Science!"
Dutifully reminded, (thanks, Sherilyn!) I ran out in front of our building with a piece of cardboard and a piece of foam core. I thought I was going to be the only science geek out front watching the eclipse, but there were a few people gathered around my friend A., who had prepared well in advance. He had extra large FedEx tubes with black paper at the top and a viewing area cut in to provide optimal shade for contrast. Another woman had brought a piece of welding glass that was dark enough to get a quick look directly at it.
We stood out there for a while; eventually I gave up trying to keep my flimsy boards parallel in the wind and carried a tube as well, trying to get people leaving work in the neighborhood to look at the eclipses. A. had just taken an astronomy course, and we talked with people about the relative rarity of eclipses, whether we thought the quality of light was different or not. Unfortunately we had to remind more than a few people not to look directly at the sun. Most people who tried figured it out pretty quickly.
A few people walked past, doing their best to ignore the lunatics on the sidewalk ("Mustn't...make...eye contact..."). More than one person said they were too late for their train to look at the eclipse. But A. heard the best one: "I'll look at it later." Later? When, tonight after Letterman?
I left A. showing people the gradually enlarging crescent in the tube, but I had to agree when he said, "I think we've done some good out here today for science." Makes me think I might want to eclipse chasing sometime.