2017 Solar Eclipse Summary – Orangeburg, SC

This is more of a journal entry than a blog post.

Enjoy! ^.^

The solar eclipse was days away, drawing nearer and more intimidating. The Physics department was on edge since I’d arrived at the school, with a new issue seemingly arising every day. The morning after my bus into Orangeburg arrived, Wednesday morning, I was briefed on the state of the campus. It was August 16, 2017. I was tasked with developing a healthy store of information on the sun, sunspots, and eclipses in general by the 21st. I was going to be an Eclipse Ambassador for the event we’d be having in the stadium. I spent the next few days pining over resources on the internet, mixed into my study time for other classes. I refreshed my memory on the differences between a lunar and solar eclipse, improved my understanding of what sunspots are and how they fluctuate, I learned what the material our protective glasses were made out of, among other things.

Two days before the event, my advisor, Dr. Cash, met with myself and the students that would be helping host the event. They’d be spread out throughout the crowd, helping with glasses, safety, and general eclipse information. She went over the things we’d need to know to better serve our guests.

On the eve of the event, I was asked to assist with moving some equipment to the stadium early in the morning. University of Alabama was launching a weather balloon with our aide from on top of the stadium to monitor weather effects during a total solar eclipse. South Carolina State University would also be spearheading in South Carolina and recording the eclipse for the Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) project. On my way to the cafeteria for breakfast, I had gotten word that my advisor’s, whom at this point in my matriculation I see as a second mother, progress through her list of tasks had been impeded. None of the students that had promised to help her had shown up. I took a detour to her office; breakfast could wait. The workload ended up being much less stressful when there was more than one person working on it. We gathered some things for the event onto a cart to be taken down to the first floor and she drove them to the stadium where there were people waiting to help unload. I went up to get the final load. Everything was completed in time.

A few hours later, I arrived to help host the eclipse viewing at the stadium. There were booths set up all underneath the stands to avoid the sweltering heat. Mine would be two tables that each had two of the same type solar scopes on them. Solar scopes are devices that take in sunlight, focus it with lenses, then reflect it onto a white surface so we can safely view the sun and even see sunspots and clouds passing in front of it. One type was wooden and a dozen or so people could view the sun from the sides. The other was cardboard, and only a couple people could look into them at a time.  Due to the nature of the booth I would be overseeing, it was in direct sunlight. We were expecting four more students to show up to help me run the station. Four students that never came. A friend of mine, Robert Blue, had been watching me explain how the solar scopes worked and began helping me out. He made signs instructing people on how to use them, since telling them not to touch the interesting instruments was futile. He also helped explain what they did to the curious and steadily growing crowds around the station. There were a few times when there were over 30 people in our vicinity, so his help was much appreciated. I had even gotten approached by what I believe were flat-earthers or climate change deniers. It was pretty interesting since it was the first time I’ve ever been challenged by their type outside of the internet. I gave them all the information a physicist could give, cautioning them of my ignorance when they strayed too far into climate science. We eventually got help with the crowds from two other students, though I’m not quite sure where they came from. I was just happy to have the help.

A few of our friends had come over to join us as the eclipse was beginning. The crowds were waning, as most people had seen the solar scopes by now. It was a good time. I’ll never forget how the sun looked as a piece of it went missing. Of course I knew where it was and what was going on, but the idea that this monolith that was worshipped as a god by ancient peoples could just so simply be eaten away put a perplexing sense of fear inside of me for what might have happened in the past. I’ll also never forget how the sky had darkened as the first moment of totality drew within minutes, how the sun had totally disappeared, and the cheers erupting from the stadium. It was a treat I’ll never forget and that I’m fortunate to have been a part of.


Thesis: Age 26

26 years ago I came into existence. The internal debate between whether soul or consciousness exists is especially fierce this day each year. I’m working on it.

What have I accomplished?
Taught a class, straight(ish) A student, Honors College, visited the East Coast, West Coast, and the Midwest, learned how to code, almost got featured in a magazine, and that’s only since January.
I’m doing alright, I suppose.

More importantly, The Human Race is in dire straights. We must come together to end the wars in the Middle East, to reduce Greenhouse Emissions, and to take back our American Economy. The Earth will live on with or without us.
I should probably get to work on this warp drive (and a more scientifically literate name for it). It’s not going to build itself.

I do not fear aging; I embrace it. Omw to sagehood.

Fun with Alcohol: On the Existence of Infinity

Disclaimer: I do not believe infinity exists in nature.

This one is brief and as of yet, a work in progress. In order for most of our current laws of physics to work, the concept of Infinity has to exist in nature. However, in some places such as the singularity of a black hole or the edges of the universe, our current laws break down. We cannot quantify infinity. So I propose a thought experiment, involving everyone’s favorite beverage;

Using data collected by researchers at Ohio State University, astronomers have found vast quantities of pure, ice cold, delicious alcohol in an interstellar cloud some 10,000 light years from Earth.

This beer cloud, as I’m (unofficially) officially naming it right now, is an unimaginably large amount of liquid happiness. In fact, if you, or more preferably I, were to have this entire beer cloud fermented and transformed into one’s favorite beer, there would be more than one could consume in an entire lifetime. Even if, from birth until a virtually impossible lifespan of 80 years or so, one were to drink oneself into a perpetually drunken state, indefinitely pushing the limits of alcohol poisoning and remaining just outside of the reach of death’s sobering embrace, it may appear to the inebriated onlooker that the cloud had not diminished an ounce in size.
Thus, we can conclude that the beer cloud is effectively infinite in size because one person could drink from it for the entirety of one’s life, which to that person, is all of time.
One could drink from the beer cloud for infinity.
But the cloud is indeed quantifiable. From this scenario, we reach the conclusion that infinity is a number that can be counted to.
Of course this is very preliminary, but it can also be promising in disproving the Existence Of Infinity.