If you couldn’t be in the path of the total eclipse, we thought that being in the Black Rock Desert, building Burning Man 2017, wasn’t the worst place you could be.
At the morning meeting, Cobra Commander said that there were plenty of eclipse glasses available, “as prophesied.” And so it came to pass, and that which could not be ordered on Amazon appeared as if by wizardry for all those who would partake.
Sheepshank said the word for the day was syzgy, “a straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system,” so what better place to observe the eclipse than at Zac Coffin’s Temple of Gravity, way out past the Temple, near the trash fence that encircles the city.
We weren’t the only ones who had the idea, of course.
There were a goodly number of other folks either playing hooky or who had gotten time off from work to put themselves in a good place to experience the eclipse.
And then the next thing you knew, here comes D.A., boom box looping “Total Eclipse of the Sun,” and he climbs up on the Temple and starts belting out the song. The soundtrack for the experience also included, “Ain’t No Sunshine, When She’s Gone,” and “Here Comes the Sun,” and a bunch of other solar ditties. But it was hard to match the perfection of “Total Eclipse.”
We weren’t in the path of totality, but the quality of the altered light was mesmerizing. Another camera buff said that there was about a half-stop difference in exposure in the amount of light reaching us, which isn’t very much. But it was … different. Paler, more desaturated, a little more blue.
But what really struck us was the change in temperature. Of course it has been hot here, plenty hot, but as the eclipse hit its deepest point here, it felt like the air temperature dipped by a good 10 degrees. With a breeze, there might even have been a goosebump or two.
People swung on the sculpture, put on their eclipse glasses and took it all in. Mike in the metal shop lent us a bit of welder’s glass (filter #13), and we could look and see the shadow taking a bite out of the sun without the benefit of glasses. It also allowed us to have a little fun with the reflection of people in the glass, even as the eclipsed sun shown through.
Obviously, this is more a picture story than a word story, so let’s have at it: