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A Contemplative Approach to Viewing the Eclipse

By Andrea Schweitzer, Ph.D. in astronomy //

There has been a lot of news about the upcoming “Great American Solar Eclipse” on August 21, 2017.  If you are able to get to a location for totality of the eclipse, it will be an incredible experience to remember.  Or, if you’re only able to see the partial eclipse, that is enjoyable and worthwhile, too!

There is a lot of detailed information being published about the eclipse *(see resources below).

I would like to suggest that it is also important to contemplate how you might like to feel as you witness this celestial event. Hopefully this will be a memory to last a lifetime, and that is worth considering in advance.

Eclipse

Photo: Wikicommons Charley280

Quiet and Reflective

Observe the eclipse from under a tree, and be surrounded by a myriad of crescent suns. Play with your fingers and enjoy the “pinhole projection”  effect.

Celebratory

Invite others to join you, and plan an eclipse party.  There are many educational activities  for kids and adults that you can do before and during the eclipse.

Curious to experience something new

As the sky turns dark in the middle of the day, there will be planets that come into view and other unusual phenomena.  Unless you are an experienced astrophotographer, don’t worry about trying to capture the eclipse. There will be many professional images and videos available following the event. Most people will have two minutes or less of totality. Enjoy being fully aware and immersed in the moment!

Contributing to Science

Document your observations as a citizen scientist and support eclipse research.

There won’t be another solar eclipse visible from the United States until 2024. If you would like an opportunity to contemplate the universe before then, please come and join us for a fun and relaxing weekend under the stars at the Shambhala Mountain Center!

SMC hosts Big Sky, Big Mind: A Contemplative Astronomy Workshop with Andrea Schweitzer and Jim Tolstrup, September 8–10, 2017 — click here to learn more

* Here are some more great resources for learning about the Great American Eclipse!

Featured image by NASA / The Exploratorium

About the Author

Andrea Schweitzer, PhD, is an astronomer with the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, Colorado. Having collaborated with NASA on programs such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Voyager missions, she balances her work with her personal practices of stargazing, yoga, and meditation.

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