First I need to apologize for not informing readers of last week’s eclipse of the Sun, even though in California we only saw a partial eclipse.

On Oct. 14 an annular solar eclipse crossed North, Central and South America. Of course it is never safe to look into the Sun during an eclipse so my family used special glasses. It was quite impressive seeing the Sun as a crest.

“An annual solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but when it is at or near its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun. As a result, the Moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the Moon,” according to NASA.

I don’t know about you but an eclipse always reminds me of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain. The hero – Hank Morgan – receives a bonk on the head and is transported back to Camelot. Thank goodness he knew the science of the universe because just before he was hanged he waved his hand and magically made the Sun go dark.

“For a lesson, I will let this darkness proceed and spread night in the world; but whether I blot out the Sun for good, or restore it, shall rest with you,” he said.

 Of course the people of Merlin believed this to be a real sign of magic, and they weren’t alone. An eclipse, whether solar or lunar, throughout the history of the world has caused great concern and to some acted as proof of angry gods … But not to the Irish.

Nope – according to Irish Central, the Irish recorded the first solar eclipse in the year 512, and it was welcomed by Celts in ancient times. The record of the eclipse was carved into stone cairns at Loughcrew in Meath over 5,000 years ago by the ancient Irish. One of the first eclipses of that era was recorded in Ireland by an Irish monk on June 29, 512 in the Chronicle of Ireland.

Eclipses, especially lunar eclipses, were not something to fear but were associated with the rabbit and the hare, symbols of fertility, according to Irish Central.

Many historians believe the Celts created a “festival of light” to welcome an eclipse, which they were capable of predicting.

Each culture had its own reaction to an eclipse; for example, the native people of Colombia shouted to the heavens, promising to work hard and mend their ways. In the Norse culture the gods put an evil enchanter, Loki, into chains. Loki got revenge by creating wolf-like giants, one of which swallowed the Sun, hence the eclipse. The Chippewa people would shoot flaming arrows into the sky to try to rekindle the Sun.

To the Australian aborigines, the Sun was seen as a woman who carried a torch and the Moon by contrast was regarded as male. Therefore a solar eclipse was the Moon-man uniting with the Sun-woman, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Now I know the science of an eclipse but I still can relate to those who came before me who were in awe of this celestial event and needed desperately to find a mystical cause.

On Oct. 14, the color of the world around us changed. The Sun dimmed, ever so slightly in our area, but still – it was a strange effect. It also was even more powerful knowing that millions of people were seeing the same thing at the same time. It also should remind us how expansive the universe is and how – for just a small moment in time – our Moon crossed the Sun making the world look so different.

The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be on April 8, 2024.

Our weather will be cooling after today, which should see a high of 94 degrees. Friday through Saturday will see highs in the low 90s and high 80s then drop again Sunday through Monday with highs in the mid-to-low 70s.