Warn­ing: So­lar eclipse will fry your eye­balls.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE -

Dear Otus,

I love your col­umn. We read it to close ev­ery de­osil cer­e­mony.

I am a High Pri­est­ess duothe­ist Seax-Wic­can fol­low­ing the true syn­cretic spir­i­tual path of eclec­tic Wic­cans. The 13 women of my coven — the Daugh­ters of Gaea, Sis­ters to the Moon Lo­cal 167 — are plan­ning an early lesser Mabon fes­ti­val and an­tipo­dal Es­bat at Mur­ray Park Pavil­ion No. 4 on Aug. 21 to co­in­cide with the so­lar eclipse.

There will be mud baths and eclipse view­ing, then bar­be­cue and karaoke. It’s ed­u­ca­tional (and not sky­clad), so the pub­lic is in­vited.

I’ve heard dif­fer­ent times. Can you tell me pre­cisely when Lit­tle Rock will ex­pe­ri­ence the eclipse so we can plan the sched­uled dou­ble Hand­fas­ten­ing? — Tara Ma­clay, Lit­tle Rock

Dear Tara,

It was wholly a plea­sure to hear from you. It sounds like a lot of fun.

This is the first to­tal eclipse vis­i­ble to the con­ti­nen­tal United States in 38 years, and it’s been nearly 100 since Arkansas has seen one of this mag­ni­tude.

I want to thank you for giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to is­sue my stan­dard so­lar eclipse warn­ing in an at­tempt to stave off those un­for­tu­nates com­pet­ing in this sub­cat­e­gory of the Dar­win Awards.

The last time I warned read­ers was about the par­tial eclipse on Christ­mas Day 2000. Here it is again.

Warn­ing: Star­ing at the sun will not kill you, but you will burn out your eyes and go blind. Do not look di­rectly at the sun. There is noth­ing re­motely funny about hav­ing your vit­re­ous hu­mor boiled and your reti­nas fried. You will also go blind if you stare at even a par­tially eclipsed sun.

There. I’ve done my duty. Still, there will be some who go and do it any­way.

There are sev­eral safe ways to ob­serve the eclips­ing sun. Or­di­nary sun­glasses will not work. Do not use them.

There are spe­cial dark “eclipse glasses” (ISO 123122 in­ter­na­tional stan­dard) like the ones you sent me with your photo. There is the pin­hole pro­jec­tion in the box trick that shows the sun as a cres­cent dur­ing the par­tial eclipse phases.

But that’s a small pro­jec­tion. There will be tele­scopes with so­lar fil­ters around town, in­clud­ing one set up at Pavil­ion No. 8 near you by the Cen­tral Arkansas As­tro­nom­i­cal and As­tro­log­i­cal Cos­play So­ci­ety.

Sadly, the UALR Plan­e­tar­ium is cur­rently non-op­er­a­tional, but the univer­sity’s physics and as­tron­omy depart­ment will be at Pavil­ion No. 2 with a tele­scope and will be hand­ing out Neil de­Grasse Tyson fans that dou­ble as masks.

Per­haps the safest way for small chil­dren to watch is on­line at nasa.gov/eclipse­live. I know it’s not out­doors, but you won’t be wor­ry­ing that they’ll take off their glasses and do dam­age.

Although Lit­tle Rock is not in the 70-mile-wide um­bral “path of to­tal­ity” that will take 94 min­utes to pass through 14 states, from Ore­gon to South Carolina, Mur­ray Park still will be in the sig­nif­i­cant penum­bra zone. The eclipse will be­gin at 11:48 a.m. and last un­til 2:47 p.m. with 89 per­cent of the sun blocked by the moon at pre­cisely 1:18 p.m. Plan your Hand­fas­ten­ing for that mo­ment.

Want more? The Piggott chap­ter of Wicca and Rosi­cru­cian­ism is meet­ing for the eclipse at the lake at Her­itage Park. Piggott will see 97 per­cent of the sun blocked. Af­ter­ward, they will be hold­ing a Triple God­dess cer­e­mony at the am­phithe­ater cel­e­brat­ing the Maiden, Mother and Crone.

The pub­lic is wel­come, but bring your own lawn chair and hor­nu­copian dronepipe for the tra­di­tional clos­ing per­for­mance of “Siya­hamba.”

And be pre­pared down by the river at Mur­ray Park. At the pre­cise eclipse perdieron, the tem­per­a­ture will plunge 20 de­grees; the wind will pick up; roost­ers will crow; the Canada geese will run in cir­cles; park coy­otes will howl; women will faint; grown men will weep; while the chil­dren per­se­ver­ate un­con­trol­lably.

But it’ll only last for a mo­ment.

Un­til next time, Kalaka re­minds you that in 2024 and 2045, al­most all of Arkansas will ex­pe­ri­ence a to­tal so­lar eclipse.

Lo­cal Wic­can Tara Ma­clay prac­tices for the mud and so­lar eclipse event to be held at Mur­ray Park on Aug. 21.

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