In The Shadow of the Moon ~ Aveni

In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses
Anthony Aveni

Available at libraries near me: Hartford Public Library, Library Connection consortium

More information and reviews at Goodreads

I didn’t do everything right during my college years, but I did take a class with Tony Aveni. I sat next to Laurel, who earned fame by creating some sort of scale model of the universe. The only part of it I understood was that she used toothpaste for…orbits? I’m a little sketchy with the details over 20 years later. When you’ve been in the classroom as long as Aveni had been, you end up with a lot of stories. One that has stuck with me pertains to someone answering an exam question. They meant to write “voila,” but instead wrote “viola.” I still think it’s funny, but then, I’m quirky. Another vivid memory is a fellow student sitting at the front of the lecture hall in a Radio Flyer wagon. The student took the pin out of a fire extinguisher, and the wagon sailed to the other side of the room. It really looked like a lot of fun. After 54 years at Colgate (sadly, not a multiple of 13), Aveni retired at the end of 2016. When I had the opportunity to purchase his book for the collection, I went for it.

On page 13, there is a discussion of competitive eclipse chasing. I never imagined such a thing would exist! Aveni writes about people who hire airplanes to fly fast enough so they can spend more time in a total eclipse. That’s pretty nifty!

Up to this point the book has been perfect for someone like me; someone who is interested in the topic, but doesn’t have a scientific background. At the end of chapter 2, Aveni warns that chapter 3 will get into scientific detail. I am actually looking forward to this.

Worth checking out: Definitely

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