Huge rocks flying in the sky

An image that is closely related to fantasy stories, to me, is that of floating castles. This huge rock floats in the air, kept up by ancient magics, with a grandiose, crumbling castle on top.

But sometimes, I remember that we have a actual huge flying rock hurtling around our good old earth.

Eclipse and a plane. Click for the original.

This Monday, 21st, a total annular eclipse could be seen from most of Japan. It was really awesome that, as I went for work earlier, so that I could catch the eclipse at the university with friends, I saw so many people carrying around glasses to see the eclipse. People in Tsukuba not only knew about what was going on, they were also prepared to see it.

Myself, I spent a couple hours sunday preparing a pinhole camera made of cardboard, so that I could see the eclipse DIY style. I followed the instructions on this site. The end result was pretty good. While everyone else had their small viewing glasses, I was lugging around this monstrosity:

Anyway… this kind of things remind me that we live in a pretty fantastic world. We take gravity for granted, but the fact that a large enough rock can attract other objects without even touching them is pretty insane, if you stop to think about it. And the fact that astronomical bodies follow a very precise dance, which allowed people from elder ages to predict eclipses and other events precisely only through calculations… that is astounding.

Astronomy is a very artistic field of study indeed!

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