Years ago, when I worked in Africa, the light in my office started to fail. There was no electricity during the day, so we got our office light via old fashioned windows. My first thought was a storm: but there were no clouds. Although the sun was shining, everything seemed to be dim. A phrase came to mind: ” the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light…” but of course when I went outside, I found it was merely a partial eclipse, and then I remembered hearing about it on the BBC radio news the night before.
But even though the eclipse was only partial, the episode impressed me: one could see why legends and fear would come from people who didn’t know about such thing, or why legends of doom are made about the dimming of the sun.
So tomorrow, in the Philippines where I live, I will have the chance to watch another partial eclipse. The news is warning people not to look at the sun (which can cause burns of the retina and even partial blindness).
But the full eclipse is north of here, and will be seen by millions in the southern islands of Japan, in China (including the city of Shanghai), and then across central India later in the morning.
China has sponsored tours for those wishing to see the eclipse, but of course it is probably too late for you to book one.
And if you miss this one, just start saving your dimes: The next total Solar eclipse is due in Tahiti on July 11, 2010.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.