Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Venus and the Crazy Neighbors (Us)

Did you see it?

Venus crossed in front of the sun yesterday! For us, though, it didn’t exactly look like this beautiful picture.

G-Man told me night-before-last that it was going to happen. “We have to remember to watch it.”

I didn’t 😦 but he did 🙂 !

He remembered just before the sun went down, and we had to find a quick way to watch the magic happen. You can’t just look at the sun.  (It’ll blind you.) You can look at it through eclipse glasses. (Who has eclipse glasses?) Or a welding mask. (Ditto.) Or a telescope with an eclipse lens. (This is getting old.)

OR you can use binoculars and focus the sun on a piece of paper, kind of like when you used a magnifying glass to set paper on fire as a kid. (Don’t teach your kids that trick. Oy!) So we hunted up our binoculars and a clean sheet of paper.

It took a while–he tried holding both, then I took the binoculars and we angled them different directions and moved the paper in and out until we finally got it focused.

Then G-Man said, “I see it!” (Woohoo!)

“Where?” I asked.

“Lower right-hand corner.”

“Which circle?”

“Both!” (The duh was implied.)

Good thing we used a piece of paper with nothing written on it, because we could have mistaken it for a period.

That’s pretty much how it looked when we could hold the binoculars and paper still at the same time. It could have been a flea on one of the binocular lenses, except it really was in the same place in both light circles. (The duh is implied.)

Years ago when the kids were small, a lunar eclipse was scheduled to be visible in our part of Okie-Land, so my sweet man built a pin-hole camera so we could all see the miracle. (Well, it was a miracle to us, anyway.)

A pin-hole camera can be as simple as a cardboard box with a hole in the middle of one end. We removed the top so we could see inside. The eclipse showed up on the back wall of the box.

G-Man backed his pickup into the driveway and opened the tailgate so we could all gathered round to peer inside. It was so exciting to see the sun be slowly overshadowed by the moon.

Next to our driveway grew an ash tree. Pretty soon, I looked at the driveway under the tree and there were hundreds of little eclipses.

The leaves had tiny holes in them I’d never noticed, which acted as pin-hole cameras.

We didn’t have a pin-hole camera yesterday or an ash tree, but our binocular/paper balancing act worked just as well.

I’m fairly sure the guy mowing the yard next door thought, “Those are some crazy neighbors!”

Did you see Venus cross in front of the sun?

More interesting, do you have neighbors who do crazy things?

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