No, I’m not planning to turn this blog into a book review site, the last two posts notwithstanding. But this is another book I’ve been reading recently that can be enjoyed by anyone, but particularly homeschoolers.
And with the interest raised by the recent eclipse, now is a good time to enjoy it!
First, a disclaimer. I am not an astronomer by any stretch of the imagination. (In fact, when I taught astronomy, it was generally more under the guise of “The History of Astronomy.”) But astronomy fascinates me, as you might have guessed if you read my earlier post on Messier Objects.
Perseid Meteor Shower
Not too long ago quite a few members of my family had been up too late playing card games and board games. When we were finishing up we realized that the Perseid Meteor Shower that we had been talking about earlier was about to start, so most of us moved out to the driveway and laid down to watch. We only got to glimpse a couple of meteors, before I gave up on the hard ground and headed to bed. But it was still fun to see the ones we did see.
99% v. Totality
And of course, there was the recent eclipse. I was not one of those who thought that being in an area of 99% coverage was going to be almost as good as being in totality. I have been subscribing to the “Classical Astronomy Update” newsletter for long enough to understand that the difference would be substantial. And we live only 100 miles south of Nashville, so getting to an area of totality would not have been that difficult. (In fact, one of my sons and his wife did exactly that, and invited the rest of us to join them.) But it was a time of difficult choices – another son and his family (young children, too young to safely watch the eclipse) were visiting with us for just a short amount of time. They were departing the next day to head back overseas. So, I made the choice to stay home with them.
We certainly didn’t have the same experience as though who experienced totality, but we did enjoy our experience as much as possible – going outside every fifteen minutes or so to check on the progress. We were happy to have been given two pairs of solar viewing glasses at the last minute (yes, I was one of those people who waited till the last minute to think of glasses, even though I knew better!). We also enjoyed looking at the eclipse through our special box camera.
As the eclipse was peaking for us, my son and I sat outside and enjoyed the remarkable drop in temperatures that had occurred over the hour or so since the eclipse had first begun. Again, not the total experience, but we enjoyed what he had.
Maybe Next Time
I don’t regret missing the total eclipse, but I’m very glad that not only my son and daughter-in-law got to see it, but also one of my sisters. In fact, my sister, Cheryl Holle, is the one who took the wonderful eclipse pictures that I’ve included in today’s post – including the one that I used for the title image. I’m glad that they were all able to have the experience. AND I’m already starting to look ahead to the 2024 eclipse. God willing, I will get to see that one from somewhere that is experiencing totality.
The Book Review, Finally
So, what does all of this have to do with a book review? I’m getting there, honestly. The same astronomer who writes the Classical Astronomy Updates (which I strongly recommend for anyone who wants to know more about “astronomy from a Biblical perspective”), Jay Ryan, also has his first two books in his “Eclipses Illustrated” series out. I haven’t bought the second one yet, but for a mere $2.99, I couldn’t resist getting the first one right away. Mr. Ryan does a great job of explaining how both solar and lunar eclipses happen, and gives some great information on upcoming eclipses.
Several of my Favorite Features/Quotes in Book 1
- The illustrations throughout the book are wonderfully easy to understand.
- Apparently the word “eclipse” means “to leave or abandon” (Who knew?)
- Quote: “There are no surprises with eclipse prediction.” As many of us watch as the meteorologists are trying (generally only somewhat successful at best) to predict the paths of the current hurricanes, it’s interesting to me that eclipses can be so well predicted – even well into the future.
- Mr. Ryan mentions the sad fact that many people will grow old without ever seeing a lunar eclipse (and those are much more common that solar eclipses, so that is sad!)
- Because the sun is about 400 times larger than the moon, but also about 400 times further away from us, we get to experience total eclipses here on earth.
For all of the creationists reading this who want to learn more about the recent eclipse and future eclipses, I can strongly recommend this book: Eclipses Illustrated, Book 1, The Eclipse Experience. (Non-creationists might still enjoy it for the dates and history, but then it’s “read at your own risk.”)