Talking about the eclipse in Tucson

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, February 12, 2015

Senior Editor Michael E. Bakich had a great time speaking to the Rotary Club of Tucson about the upcoming eclipse in 2017. // Holley Y. Bakich
Most of what I’ve written on this website and elsewhere in the past six months has been in some way related to the total solar eclipse people across the United States will experience August 21, 2017. So, it should come as no surprise that while Astronomy’s Editor David J. Eicher and I are in Tucson, that very subject should come up.

In fact, it came about because a while back my dear friend Dave White asked me to speak to the Rotary Club of Tucson, of which he’s a member, about the upcoming event. Of course, I agreed, and yesterday was the day.

Most Rotary Clubs I have spoken to (about any subject) have had between 30 and 50 members attending. Imagine my surprise, then, when no less than 175 interested people turned out for my Tucson talk. In fact, the hotel where the meeting occurred had to set up additional tables during the meeting (and before I spoke) and actually ran out of food! (The staff somehow remedied that situation 15 minutes later.)

What a wonderful time! The only hard part was the instructions I got beforehand that my talk must be no longer than 20 minutes. Hmm. If you’ve heard me speak, you know I like to — how should I say it? — “tell a tale.” I also love to head off on sidebars that cover historical or personal experiences. And although I couldn’t do too much of that in this talk, everyone seemed to have a good time.

I spoke for precisely 19 minutes, and that left time for some really good questions. Subjects ranged from the sighting of ethereal shadow bands to “How different does a 2½-minute totality feel from a 6-minute one?”

Afterward, lots of attendees told me that I had just set their vacation plans for summer 2017. How great is that? One of the tables even had a discussion as to whether my talk would be rated the best of the year. Yikes! It’s only February, folks. No pressure, eh?

You know what I told the people who complemented me on my enthusiasm? “It’s easy to get excited about something you love.”


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