|Nick Williams' San Marin Science||
Yesterday, there was a solar eclipse. This was a partial solar eclipse so the moon was partially (~85%) blocking the sun since the Sun, moon, and Earth were all in a straight line in that order. Since the moon orbits the Earth every 28 days, you'd think this happens a lot, but because of the tilted orbit of the moon, it only occurs twice per year as the moon is at the middle point of its orbit. Also, because the Earth is constantly spinning, it's unlikely that the part of the Earth that you're standing on will be facing the sun at the right angle to see the eclipse so the next solar eclipse in the Bay Area is in 2017. Anyway, I was thinking that I could walk outside, stare at the sun, and see the cool "ring of fire" that was supposed to be visible. I'd read the warnings about staring directly at the sun, but I figured that those warnings applied to people who aren't me because I have unreasonable confidence in myself. As it turns out, the sun is really bright and staring at it just looks like a really bright blob. Fortunately, the light was filtering through a tree onto my neighbor's house so I got to see some cool effects from that as well as the peculiar dusky light from the 85% less bright sun. Here's what the light filtering through the tree normally looks like at 6:30pm:
And here's what the filtered light looked like yesterday during the eclipse:
Check out those super-cool crescent shapes in the shadows!