Well, the great eclipse of 2017 is history. Some folks drove hundreds of miles to view it from a great location that was in the “totality” swath, I had to work! Still it is the kind of thing that doesn’t happen too often, so I figured that I’d make the most of it as they don’t happen every day. The last one that I remember was about 15 years ago when I was working at the steel mill. It wasn’t a total eclipse, but I remember that it got pretty dark. We were all looking at the sun in the parking lot using welding glasses from the shop. It was pretty cool.
This time my wife. Mary Anne got some special eclipse glasses from her nephew, Greg and I tried those along with a welding shade from my shop.
I also decided to build a “shoebox” viewer to see how that would work. I’m sure that I could’ve gotten a shoebox from my wife (wink, wink), but I figured that bigger is better, so I used a packing box about three feet long. I cut it out on the end to see inside and lined the bottom with a sheet of white paper for better contrast. I used an icepick to put a tiny hole in the opposite end and it was done. It works like an old style box camera, the pinhole refracts the light and focuses an image on the far end. When the eclipse started you could easily see the image of the Sun on the paper with a steadily increasing bite being taken out of it by the Moon blocking some of the Sun’s disc.
I labeled the viewer and set it out on the sidewalk in front of the store and to let passersby look through it. Most people thought it was pretty cool and we then passed around the eclipse glasses and the welding glass for a more direct view. It got about as dark as an overcast day by about 2:30 and then gradually began to lighten up. By 4:00 it was all over. They say that in seven years there will be another eclipse in Ohio, and this time we will be in the totality zone. I’ll have to make a note to myself to get the day off, from the Old Hardware Store…