High Strangeness: Total Eclipse of the UFO

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Total Eclipse of the UFO

Two days after the eclipse, I'm still thinking about what I saw and what it means. Although we're based in Wisconsin, my wife and I were in Atlanta for a few days due to a family medical emergency, and we weren't really sure until Sunday night whether we'd be able to see the eclipse at all. Fortunately, the medical emergency was fully under control by then, so we were able to head NW to Chattanooga, TN, then veer NW to Athens, TN, a site just a few miles south of dead center in the path of the totality.

Because it all came together so last-minute, we didn't have any set destination, and so we wound up in a grassy area between a Mobil station and Cracker Barrel. Not very scenic, but about a thousand other people had the same idea, so we were surrounded by lots of friendly neighbors and it turned out to be a pretty convivial setting... anyway, once the lights go out, it's completely irrelevant where you're standing--all that matters is that you're looking at this astounding cosmic event that has been mystifying (and scaring the living crap out of) our ancestors for millennia.

And it is astounding and cosmic. For anyone who couldn't view the corona, go look at any one of the million photos out there and then imagine that your surroundings have just changed from a typical boiling hot and blazing bright August afternoon to a near-dark, cool, spooky-silent alien earth unlike anything you've ever experienced. Even our dogs suddenly went quiet and laid quietly in the grass until it was over.

As I was watching the total eclipse, I kept wondering and marveling at the precision of the thing... the fact that we knew exactly where, when and how it would occur... the fact that we know exactly how to view it.... the fact that so many millions of people were sharing the same amazing experience... and the amazing way that the disc of the moon perfectly, perfectly blots out the disc of the sun.

I was wondering and marveling about that lost point so much that I'm still pondering it two days later. My first thought was that it's just an illusion that the moon and sun appear to be the exact same size, due to some strange phenomenon taking place in the corona that bent or distorted the light and made it seem as though the moon was as big as the sun. But, no, it's nothing like that at all...

It turns out that the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, so it should dwarf the moon, but it's also 400 times further away from us than the moon, so it doesn't. In fact, because of the dueling 400:1 ratios, the sun and moon appear to be the exact same size from the surface of the earth. Crazy.

Scientists have no explanation for this. It's completely random, completely coincidental, and completely out of the statistical universe. But there it is.

And of course it doesn't mean anything. Does it? I mean, how could it?

And what does this have to do with UFOs? Nothing directly, I suppose, but it is a sobering reminder that there's an awful lot in this universe that we really do not understand. You might even say that there are an awful lot of things that the universe doesn't seem to want us to understand...

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