Tonight, beginning at about 12:30 a.m. CST, a total eclipse of the moon will begin, when the full moon passes almost dead-center through earth’s shadow. “The sun is spent, and now his flasks/Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;/ The world’s whole sap is sunk;/The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk.” That’s Donne again, here’s the more prosaic Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA. “At that time, earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire moon. Totality commences at 1:41 a.m. and lasts for 72 minutes. Best dash into the darkness for a glimpse will be at 2:17 a.m. “That’s when the moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red,” says Phillips.
Photo Credit: Jim Fakatselis
A quick trip to the moon provides the answer: Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain looking up at the sky. Overhead hangs earth, nightside down, completely hiding the sun behind it. The eclipse is underway. You might expect earth seen in this way to be utterly dark, but it’s not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around earth’s circumference, you’re seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of earth’s shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the moon into a great red orb.
And if you’re in the mood for mournful poetry while watching the eclipse, here’s the complete version of John Donne’s "A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day," considered the shortest day of the year by the great poet. It’s a doozy of metaphysical thought, full of Platonic imagery, alchemy and astrology. A somber read for a midnight clear.
A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day
‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar’d with me, who am their epitaph.
Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.
All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
I, by Love’s limbec, am the grave
Of all that’s nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown’d the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.
But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.