Upcoming is one of the most spectacular events in nature. For many, it will be the first opportunity to witness a solar eclipse. Many resources explain the celestial movements that synchronize to form this amazing show: the role of earth’s axis, our large and spherical moon, the fact that while our local star is 400 times the size of our moon it also happens to be 400 times distant from earth which by the way offers wonderful viewing, owing to our clear atmosphere.
What remains unexplored is just how rare these conditions are. Not only have we the conditions to support life, we also have the best conditions for studying space including eclipses. Anyone who would study this further must read The Privileged Planet by Gonzalez and Richards.
Accounts of eclipse-viewers include a universal sense of awe, wonder, and even astonishment, although astronomers predict exactly what transpires, and where and when (down to the second). Why the soul-stirring? Does the viewer deep down have a realization that eclipses cannot simply be happenstance? That there is organization and beauty which is beyond anything that could occur by chance? That this inspiring event before their eyes is nothing short of the calling card of God?
I would challenge each of us to examine not only heart and soul but also the logical mind after experiencing the 21st. If you come away still believing there is nothing more to this universe than blind random chance, then you have more faith than I do.
Jonathon Bird M.D.