By Aaron Jackson
Although sports is my passion as I’ve gone through life I’ve always found it best to find other ventures that interest me as well. One of those has always been space. What’s out there and how does it affect us will always be a topic I’d be willing to discuss with anyone. Last week at the Bangor Public Library I attended a lecture about eclipses. Why, you ask? Because we had one yesterday. I’m hoping most of you already knew this, but for those that were in an office or in a cloudy area, the moon covered up about 54% of the sun during the afternoon hours right before The Drive. And while that doesn’t equal a total eclipse which is the true marvel, I thought it would be good to take a quick break from sports to talk a little about the phenomenon. Here are five facts you may not know about eclipses.
- Today’s eclipse is the first to travel the entire United States in 99 years. Eclipses happen in some part of the world every 2 years or so, but very rarely do they encompass our entire country in some capacity. This has led to what experts are calling an eclipse economy for today. Essentially, workplace productivity will drop, causing about $700 million dollars in losses.
- While we will only get a partial eclipse here, it won’t be long before Eastern and Central Maine get the chance at viewing a total eclipse. On April 8th of 2024, make sure to write that down on your calendars, the “path of totality” as it’s called will go directly through Maine, although those in the Bangor area will be just outside the range. Lincoln and Millinocket will be directly in the path, with Mount Katahdin actually being just about the exact center point.
- In order for there to be a total eclipse, the moon has to completely block out the sun for a period of time. The reason this is possible is because, while the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, the moon is 400 times closer than the sun. That perfect math means when they cross paths in orbit a total eclipse is possible. That said, the moon doesn’t go on a perfect orbit around the Earth, meaning someday total eclipses will not be possible because the distance between the Earth, moon and sun will change.
- Mysterious shadowy figures can emerge if you’re in the path of totality. Scientists call them shadow snakes, and they can be seen on plain surfaces. They’ve baffled those that have studied them to this point, though there are many theories as to what they could be.
- This last one isn’t necessarily eclipse based, but interesting nonetheless. When high schools were built during the great space race between 1945 and 1960 the federal government required they either came with an observatory or a swimming pool. This was because we were so obsessed with being the first to get to space. Swimming pools were an option because that is where astronauts will do a lot of their training.
Aaron Jackson is a co-host of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.