This Monday, August 21, the United States will get a once in a lifetime opportunity. For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will cross the country from sea to shining sea.
For those of you like me whose only knowledge about space is the name of George Jetson’s dog, a total eclipse is when the Earth, moon and sun all align, and the moon appears to block out the sun.
Eclipses happen all the time, but total eclipses are rare. Apparently it is harder to get the Earth, moon and sun to act together than it is Congress! Zing! That might be my first political joke ever and I know so little about politics that I am not even sure if it made sense. Is Congress being difficult still a thing?
Anywho, total eclipses don’t happen everyday. And the fact that it is happening in the U.S. is even more rare. Total eclipse events take place about every year in the world, but America hasn’t had one since February 26, 1979. That year only a few people got to see it because it was only visible in Washington before traveling east to North Dakota and then moving into Canada.
And as I mentioned earlier it has been since 1918 that the total eclipse will go from coast to coast.
What is called the “path of totality” will cover a 70-mile wide path from Oregon to South Carolina. Side note, “path of totality” sounds like a great name for a movie with The Rock.
Those in the path will be witness to one of nature’s most impressive sights. And many people are expected to witness this once in a lifetime event.
Michael Zeiler, an eclipse cartographer estimates that between 1.85 million and 7.4 million people may commute into the path of totality.
Imagine 20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation,” said Zeiler.
First of all, 1.85-7.4 million is strange range. How did they come up with that number? And are you really allowed to have a guess that includes a buffer of nearly 6 million? If you got stopped by the cops and told them you had somewhere between 2 and 8 drinks, they would definitely arrest you.
Second of all, Zeiler said it will be like 20 Woodstocks. Is he just saying that because there was so much drug usage that people thought they saw the sun being blacked out?
But I digress again. I promise there is a point to this post.
The point is that people are traveling great lengths to take in the total eclipse. Hotels are sold out, crazy traffic is expected and people from Goreville, Illinois have no clue what is about to hit their town.
People see a once in a lifetime chance and are seizing the opportunity.
Wouldn’t that be nice if we did that everyday?
Each day we let opportunities go to waste because we don’t act on them. We miss the chance to ask out the girl, start the book or eat pancakes for dinner. Maybe each one isn’t the only chance we will ever get. Or maybe it will. I know one thing, the more we let opportunities pass by, the more likely they become once more in a lifetime moments.
If only we had the power of NASA pinpointing the exact time and place we need to Carpe the Diem. I bet 1.85 to 7.4 million people would act then.