Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Tomorrow will hold a total eclipse of the sun-- the longest eclipse this century and the last for several decades. Some people need an excuse to party and I think I’ve come up with one for July. After all, there are no major holidays after July 4th until Sept. 7, 2009, Labor Day. However,tomorrow as I have stated starting at dawn on July 22, 2009, there’s going to be a very lengthy total eclipse of the sun (visible in some part of the world - most notably, India and China). If you are well-heeled (got bucks) you still have time to book yourself on one of the many Solar Eclipse tours that will take you to the best viewing spots in India (Darjeeling) and Bhutan or over to China, reportedly the best viewing locations for this spectacular phenomenon. Researching the net, I found many opportunities to book a Solar Eclipse tour - or even another one ,later on to view another eclipse in a different part of the world (Moon and Sun eclipses seem to occur once or twice per year). The tour that most appealed to me was managed by Astronomy professors, but there are many tour varieties - including some that will also stop at various wondrous tourist attractions in exotic locations. Some of these tours book years in advance, but given the economy, you might luck out and land a spot or two. To be precise about the July 22 eclipse: This July 22 eclipse will be the longest total solar eclipse in the 21st Century; another one like this will not occur until 2132 (long past my bed time). This unusually long eclipse is expected to last up to 6 minutes, 39 seconds or about the same length of that classic old Beatles tune "Hey Jude". It will be visible from a narrow corridor through northern India, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean, including the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa). You can view the total eclipse in such cities as Surat, Hangzhou and Shanghai. A significant partial eclipse will be visible from most of South East Asia and northeastern Oceania. If you happen to live near these locations, hooray for you - you will experience a once in a lifetime Eclipse! However, if you don’t, I am sure you can catch the views on CNN or YouTube or other up-to-the-moment news channels some time on the 21st or before. Remember that if you do venture there and you get close to the actual Eclipse, not to look at the sun directly . Also, in some locations, you won’t see it at all (Don’t let the sun catch you crying).
I say: time to plan an Eclipse Party. July 22 falls on a Wednesday; July 21st is Tuesday depending on where you live. Not exactly an optimal party night, but hey, we’re talking really, really long total eclipse. Celebrate! Invite your friends over for a drink (how about a Tequila Sunrise?) and some snacks (don’t forget the sunflower seeds) and whatever other appetizers you may want to serve. Finish off with a sweet treat: an ice cream sundae. (I suggest a mix of vanilla and chocolate, with a few Oreo cookies on top). At my party, I’m going to serve pizza: cheese and black olive, to be exact. Oh yeah-- how about a dress code: everyone must wear black (head to toe, hats optional, as are sunglasses. The more someone looks like a Blues Brother or a Man in Black, the better). A little thematic
music will be called for: eclipse music, like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. But the music selection is entirely up to you; it’s your eclipse too. (If you’re stymied, you might want to think about Elton John and his going-down Sun or Andy Williams and his moon river). Whatever music you choose, get creative and have fun with it.

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