Umbraphiles

umbraphile : One who loves eclipses, often travelling to see them. — Wiktionary

Yes, this is that obligatory post about “The Solar Eclipse” (NASA, Wikipedia). Of course, there had to be one — eclipses really are just too cool to ignore. You’ve already been bombarded with explanations of the science and history of eclipses, but just in case you can tolerate one more, here’s my favorite YouTube video.


Here’s my favorite article that explains why eclipses are so great from a scientific standpoint.
Solar eclipse 21 August 2017 – America on the move (The Science Geek)

This eclipse has also inspired some neat apps. For example, Berkeley and Google teamed up to create a nice Eclipse Simulator that shows what will be seen from where in the US.


Someone else went so far as to create this cute 360° Video that shows what it will look like from Kentucky.


Of course, the truth be known, all of the fuss about people in the United States getting the chance to see a total solar eclipse might be just a wee bit overblown. With all the hype about the tourism and special sun glasses, you may have missed a couple of stories pointing out that the event isn’t really all that rare relative to the entire planet.
Total eclipses aren’t that rare—and you’ve probably missed a bunch of them: They happen about once every 18 months (Sara Chodosh, Popular Science)

There is one group of people who know this very well. They are the Umbraphiles, more commonly known as “eclipse chasers.” They are a unique tribe, and their fascination with the celestial events tends to be described in terms well outside the realm of science.
Chasing Totality: A Look Into the World of Umbraphiles (Andy Wright, Atlas Obscura)
Eclipse Chasing, in Pursuit of Total Awe (Christina Koukkos, New York Times)

David Baron is one of the best known among them, so he’s been in the news quite a bit lately. Here’s a TED Talk and a couple of articles about his compelling story.

You owe it to yourself to experience a total eclipse (David Baron, TED Talk)
An eclipse chaser explains why the rare celestial event shouldn’t be missed (Alessandra Potenza, The Verge)

Better yet, thanks to the wonders of eclipses happening all over the planet from time to time, there are actually quite a few records of them. Here are two 360° Videos that spectators captured and shared from Svalbard and Indonesia in 2015 and 2016, respectively.



So, if you happen to be in the path of totality on Monday, spectate with awe. If you’re not, but wish you were, then there’s plenty more to come in your lifetime (Time & Date, Wikipedia).

Find out more about the Sun and the Moon