Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse.

The earth gets between the sun and the moon, and throws the moon into shadow. This is an idea so straightforward that it can be demonstrated to first-graders using an orange, a tennis ball and a — what, I don't know — roundish rock. You need three hands. Would any of you like to volunteer? Super. OK. If this is the earth...

Simplicity aside, it's kind of an elegant idea: we're blocking our own light. The solar eclipse isn't our fault, but this one surely is. We're in our own way.

Here's a little primer, science dweebs (courtesy of the super-excellent Mr. Eclipse):

And a timeline, for those of you scoring at home...

Well, yeah. That might just be enough teaching for one day. In my afternoon class I completely contradicted, loudly and incorrectly and accidentally, both my own well-belabored point and the excellent, concise point of a student. The class was good enough to point this out straight away, and since we'd been in there an hour already, I figured that with that one sure and certain absolute truth— that I'd been wrong in a kind of serious, impressive way— we'd probably fulfilled our educational imperatives for today, Wednesday February 20, and I called it a day. It's not every day you find one thing that's true.

So I'll sign off here as well. Stick your heads outside this evening, friends and fans of eclipses. I'm not in any way sure it's weather, but it's in the sky. We'll award half credit for that.

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