moments in entropy


Solar eclipse survival

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Just for the benefit of those who do not know, the longest solar eclipse in the 21st century happens today, 22 July 2009. It will be visible in most parts of Southeast Asia, and will last, at its maximum, 6 minutes and 38.8 seconds. It starts at 23:58:18 UTC (21 July), which means here in Singapore it will be at around 0758hrs, if I'm not mistaken and if it is even visible here.

Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth so that the sun is partially or fully covered. You may ask how can the moon appear to be as big as the sun (hence covering it during an eclipse) when the sun is hundreds of times bigger than the moon? It's fairly simple: the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther from Earth.

A solar eclipse shadow generally has two parts: the umbra and the penumbra. The umbra is the darkest part of the shadow, whereby the sun is completely blocked. A penumbra on the other hand is a region where only part of the moon is blocking the sun.


The umbra will be visible in some cities in India and Mainland China. And the rest is Wikipedia.

Naturally, during solar eclipses, it's dark. It's not nighttime dark, but it's relatively darker than a normal day. They don't last very long though, as you can tell with the duration of the longest solar eclipse. Nevertheless, time is gold and if 6 minutes and 38.8 seconds was worth a hefty amount of dough, then the darkness would be quite costly. Examples:
  • If you are growing greens for a living and you need to water them tomatoes, or you just want to shoo those pesky Ah Nehs serenading their Indonesian girlfriends in the lawn, you will need a special hose when the lights go out.
Flashlight Nozzle. It's a garden hose attachment that features universal-fit pistol-grip with rain spray and an integrated LED flashlight that runs on 2 AA's. By Restoration Hardware.
  • You're out in East Coast Park for a run because you need to train for your upcoming NAPFA.
Pioneer - immaculate white shoes with headlights. Not only does it illuminate up to 1.5 metres ahead of you, it also charges the headlights by converting the kinetic energy from your steps (or strides) into electricity. By Yanko Design.
  • You went for a casual stroll down those narrow alleys in JB, then you were attacked by robbers.
Blind your assailants, then tear them to shreds with the K2 Porcupine Light. Its 70-lumen bulb is is bright enough to blind them muggers, while the retractable spikes slice them when they cannot see. By PentagonLight.
  • You were shooting the latest episode of your How-to-make-omelets video podcast.
The MII Flashcam is a tactical 85,000-candle-power LED flashlight with a built-in audio and video recorder and a 1.5-inch LCD screen. By Northland Security Products [product page].
  • Or you were just playing Scrabble.
The HUGlight sure knows how to keep those hands free in the dark. Or how about a hug in normal lighting? By MyLight.com.

Let there be light this solar eclipse - and live!
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