What to do before the sun goes out: reading suggestions

Depending on which way you lean, you may feel that a darkness is upon the land. Relax—it’ll get worse soon! A total eclipse of the sun—not to be confused with this—will cut a swath across the United States on August 21, leading perhaps to “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” (as the original Ghostbusters had it) or maybe just a lot of oohs and aahs and other exclamations of epic awesomeness. The few, the proud, the unimpressed may not be moved, but hardly anyone will be able to say, “I’ve seen better.”

As it happens, I can, in strictly numerical terms at least. In the early 90s, on the coast of Mexico, I saw an eclipse that lasted more than six minutes. The upcoming event will be shorter than that, as almost all of them are. Those who are interested in these unearthly phenomena may want to read up on the matter. In a short post on Goodreads, I nod to one of the available books and give a very brief account of the eclipse I saw. One thing the book discusses, though my comments don’t mention it, is why eclipses won’t always look like they do now—because the moon is receding. If you’re planning to join the transhumanists and become immortal, you’d better get in some total-eclipse viewing while you can.

Want less than a book? An item in a recent Axios AM newsletter summarizes the August eclipse with quotations from, and a link to, a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times. That item is here (if the link takes you to the top of the post, just scroll down).


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