Those of us in the U.S. expecting a partial solar eclipse on August 21st were duly warned: looking directly at this phenomenon without special viewing glasses would result in certain damage to our eyes. Alternatively, we could use the “pinhole” method and track the sun and moon pas de deux through a small opening harmlessly casting the shadow play on to a flat surface.
Enter the lowly kitchen colander – repurposed to serve as a “pinhole” device creating a repeated pattern of celestial beauty. Who knew?
I was with friends in Rhinebeck, New York. We had the required viewing glasses but seeing the eclipse-through-the-colander presented an entirely different perspective.
We expected 69% of the sun to be covered, reducing it to a fat crescent shape at the height of the eclipse. The solar and lunar players were, as usual, right on schedule and executed to perfection.
Here’s how the sun looked at 1:24 ET through the “lens” of the colander – still a full disc. Or, rather, many discs.
Sensing the gravel background was not ideal, we refined our technique by using a white shopping bag to sharpen the image (highly scientific).
This photo was taken at 2:21 ET.
A few minutes later, the moon was more evident as it crept onward blotting out more sunlight.
This was taken at 2:38 ET, just as the eclipse was reaching its zenith at 2:40 ET. The day took on an almost twilight feeling; the breeze picked up and the warm day cooled perceptively for a while.
No drama, though; the moon moved along its course and as we all experienced, the day brightened and the world kept on spinning…
Now, we’ll have to wait until 2024 for the next one. Remember to pull out your colander: it’s not just for pasta anymore.
What’s your favorite eclipse story? Let us know!
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