So, you blew it. You dithered on buying those special glasses until it was too late, and you possess neither the materials or ingenuity to fashion a camera obscura, and now you’re going to miss out on today’s solar eclipse. Perhaps you feel like you’ve failed to sufficiently appreciate the majesty of the universe. After all, the entire country’s halting its day to watch the moon pass over the sun, and you’re going to miss it.
But there’s no need to be so glum about missing a rare cosmic event. Heck, there might even be merit in not observing the eclipse. For starters, if you remained in Washington instead of flocking to a town within the path of glorious totality, you’re only getting an 81 percent version. And if you’re not even watching it from here, all is not lost. Here are a few reasons why if you can justifiably skip the eclipse.
1. There’s going to be another solar eclipse in 2024.
Look, 2016 was a hectic year that left little room to make plans for August 2017. So start thinking now about April 8, 2024, when the United States lies under the trajectory of another total solar eclipse. Better yet, play the long game and scope out where you’re going to be for the solar eclipse of August 12, 2045.
2. Buzz Aldrin owned everybody on Earth with this tweet.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) August 19, 2017
3. President Trump will be watching too.
Oh, you thought the sun and the moon were immune from being politicized? According to the White House, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will observe the eclipse from the Truman Balcony. And you wouldn’t want to be caught taking in something Trump is also enjoying, would you?
4. You are at a 2:15 screening of The Emoji Movie.
The eclipse offers a few fleeting moments of darkness. You don’t need that, because you have already found utter despair.
5. You might lose it.
Previous total eclipses resulted in stories of people screaming or crying. Even the most seasoned astronomers report that nothing can quite prepare you for the awesome spectacle of seeing the moon’s inky blackness overtake the sun. According to Bob Berman, an astronomer in Upstate New York, eclipses are weirdness incarnate: “During a solar totality, animals usually fall silent,” Berman writes in Wired. “People howl and weep. Flames of nuclear fire visibly erupt like geysers from the sun’s edge. Shimmering dark lines cover the ground.”