Sky's Up July-September 2017 - Page 46

What goes around, comes around By DAVID H. LEVY Sky’s Up Editor in Chief The evening before the Saturday, July 20, 1963, eclipse was hazy and humid in Montreal, Canada. I had just arrived home from where I was living at the time, the Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children in Denver, Colo. I was enjoying dinner with Mom and Dad and their friends Leo The line of light and Leona Kirschberg. A turned into a single first rate ophthalmologist, point—the diamond Leo was trying to ensure we would be careful ring, and then the that with eye protection and not Sun’s corona came go blind during the eclipse. out. Because the “There is nothing in nature Sun was nearing that compares to the speed of the sky darkening at the the minimum of onset of a total eclipse of the its 11-year activity Sun,” I said to him. cycle, the corona “How about a rapidly was almost circular approaching thunderstorm?” he countered. around the Sun. It I then argued that at the was my first total moment of totality, when eclipse of the Sun, all of the Sun’s photosphere and it was a powerful is covered by the Moon, it should be perfectly safe experience I will to look at the Sun with never, ever, forget. unprotected eyes. I was young and inexperienced, and even then I knew when it was not safe—and when it was safe—to look at the Sun during an eclipse. The next day, Mom, Dad and I proceeded to a spot not far from Thetford Mines in southeastern Quebec. There we saw the partial 46 stages of the eclipse intermittently as thickening clouds passed by. As the cresce