Do you see what I see?

I am getting ready for the solar eclipse on Monday when we should expect about 90% of the sun to be covered by cloud on Protection Island. I am convinced, and hopeful, that this alignment will not cause the massive Cascadia earthquake that is forecast to happen sometime in the not too distant future. Selfishly, I hope it is not before August 24 but it could be devastating for the west coast and coastal communities when it happens. This article in the New Yorker was an eye opener. A friend pointed this article out to me after we were already here. Prior to that I was only vaguely aware. I knew we were in a tsunami evacuation area. Then I started researching earthquakes and tsunamis. Distant earthquakes will give us hours notice but a local one will not. Someone else pointed out a theory that syzygy, when the earth, moon and sun are in alignment, increases the risk of earthquakes but I do not think this is supported by the data. The big one will happen when it happens ideally not when I am using my new home made solar eclipse viewer.

I did not purchase solar viewing glasses, some of which have been recalled because they won’t work. I remember from when I was a child, it was more dangerous to look at a partially eclipsed sun than to look at the sun directly. When you look at the sun, your pupils are small and the bright light causes you to look away. During an eclipse, when it’s dark out, your pupils dilate and if you see some of the sun around the edge of the moon, before turning away, it has more potential to directly harm your eyes. So I will look away and see the eclipse indirectly.

I mentioned this to a few twenty somethings who were here on the island doing some plant research. (I will tell you about the mites in our refrigerator another time). I remember using homemade devices with a hole in it and some foil. First I thought it was an apple but that was for something else.

A simple viewer can be made from a box, a piece of foil and white paper. I won’t get any stellar photographs of the eclipse, but we will get a chance to see it nonetheless.


This is what the sun looked like today through my viewer.

I took a box, traced a piece of white paper for the bottom and cut two openings on the top.  Next I poked a tiny hole in a piece of foil with my knitting needle. I put the foil over one of the openings. Then with my back to the sun, I lined it up so I could see the sun in the box.  There are more elaborate methods but this is all I need.


Thank you Jim for this pancake mix. It was delicious and was one of the only boxes, besides the Idaho potatoes we had.

I’m interested to see what the birds do during the eclipse. We finally went and heard a few rhinoceros auklets come ashore, buzz by with their wings and crash land with bang after dark. Maybe they will do it at midday. The seagulls get quiet during the dark so we may get lucky.

Look away!


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