Eclipse Across America: Baily’s Beads

Right now, I’m down on the riverfront of the Mississippi River. Behind me is the famous St. Louis Arch, and just as it starts to get to be noon, the Moon will begin to
pass in front of the Sun. When the Moon doesn’t
completely block out the Sun, you get left with this edge of light that sunlight shines through, creating an effect that
we call Baily’s beads, because it looks, for a moment,
like there’s beads of light all along the edge of the eclipse. Even though astronomers have calculated that, from the arch, the disk of the Sun will be 99.97% blocked by the Moon, you’d still need to wear
your eclipse glasses throughout the experience. That little sunlight is still too much for human eyes to handle. But even through that dense filter, the view of Baily’s beads
will be extraordinary. So, we’re human beings. This means that we have bizarre desires. One of those bizarre desires
is to stand at Four Corners – be in four states at once. Another bizarre desire
is to be at Greenwich and stand on either side
of that famous zero line. Well, here, the line that
we’re actually hoping to maybe paint on the streets is that line that divides total eclipse from not. Right now, as near as I
can tell, me and this tree, we’re out of luck. We’re in totally the wrong place. But you know, I can change that. Just by walking a few feet,
I can change everything. And if everything lines up just right… right here, right now, I’m in totality.


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