Solar Eclipse (08-21-17)

Solar Eclipse (08-21-17)

A Story by dw817

For my friends in Writer's Cafe and NextDoor.



Did you see the eclipse today ? Turns out you don't need fancy glasses. Just a cellphone or game tablet, a camera feature built into it, and a fairly steady hand.

Here I recorded several byte-size videos and linked them altogether.

00:05 My good maintenance friend - he was outside looking at the sun so I went to meet him. It was about noon. He was trying to look at the sun which I don't think was good. I pointed to my tablet and he looked back at the me waiting to see what I saw.

A woman stepped out of her apartment to greet us, too. At this point I held the tablet above me, already in video recording mode, and watched the screen to focus in the sun.

After a moment he asked, "What does it look like ?" and, well ... maybe I didn't know what to look for myself. I did see the sun as you do, but not much more.

I said, "Wow. Looks like nothing."

My neighbor came closer to look. I let her, "It looks like a sun. Check it out." I offered.

She pulled away, a little disappointed I think, "Oh yeah." she said and went back in her home.

My maintenance friend was still out there. He looked through the tablet. I told him, "Okay, see, that's very safe." I didn't want him to try looking at the sun unprotected again.

He nodded. I put down the tablet. "That's fine. 15-seconds."

I went back inside and he went back to work.

00:20 It was 12:30pm now. I was alone outside now.

I pointed my tablet up but was still not sure what I should be seeing. Do you see it ?

00:33 Came back out a few minutes later. There had to be something to see. I was still not sure what I was supposed to be looking for.

I moved my camera left and right and circled the sun. Not seeing anything.

00:54 Back out after 10-minutes to look again. At this point I was wondering if I should use a zoom or something. I knew it would be software-driven so it wouldn't hurt the camera.

"I don't see anything." I told myself.

Disappointed I went back in.

01:34 Now it was 1pm, very close to the zenith ! It would soon pass over ! It was now or never !

01:49 Finally I see the crescent ! Only if my tablet wasn't looking directly at the sun did I see it !

The maintenance man came back by. He could see I was excited now.

"I can see it !" I told him enthusiastically.

"Does it look good ?" he asked.

"Yeah, can you see it ?" I held the tablet out for him.

"Let me see." he said.

"That little crescent, right there."

He smiled, "I know !"

"Yeah !"

He laughed. I nodded, "Once every 20-years !"

Looking back up I added, "I figured I would record it."


"I can see it now." I told someone passing by.

He came over to look in the view. "I saw it too." he said.


he started to go back to his vehicle. They drive these little electric cars around where we live.

The two pulled away. I stayed where I was. "I'm going to record another minute and then go back in."

"Ah ! Feel that cool air." and yes it was. It actually was degrees colder outside. The sun which always burned my skin now was just a bright light with no heat. I wished this would last but I knew it wouldn't.

"Very good."

03:35 Then I had the idea to zoom. On a tablet you use two fingers place them on the screen and spread them out. I put it on maximum zoom, then I went to look at the sun with the tablet again.

I was curious about something. I wasn't so much interested in the sun or the crescent eclipse but another phenomenon that appeared in my camera.

03:41 A big red ball that appeared to be the surface of the sun. It was constantly moving so I suspected this to be balls of fire jumping around on the sun.

I couldn't keep it in focus, however. I had to be just the right distance from looking straight at the sun to see it.

03:53 You can see it clearly here. See how even holding the camera steady it bubbles and moves all around.

04:08 Look for the circle cut into the red sphere ! I wondered if this was the total shadow left behind by the moon.

Notice how the circle jumps around the red sphere depending upon which angle I was looking at the sun.

Another thing you could see which I thought I recorded as I sat down but didn't. If you are under a tree during an eclipse, you will see ALL the shadows look like little crescent cuts, another indicator that you are witness to a solar eclipse !

I did a bit more of this, pleased, and finally went back inside to post all these video clips as one in Youtube.

© 2017 dw817

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Added on August 22, 2017
Last Updated on August 22, 2017
Tags: davidw



Fort Worth, TX