Bryan Brewer is the author of “ECLIPSE.” In this Q5, he talks about the upcoming celestial event.

Bryan Brewer is the author of “ECLIPSE.” In this Q5, he talks about the upcoming celestial event.

1. Bryan, What is your book, “ECLIPSE” about and why are the next three weeks a perfect time to read it?
ECLIPSE (third edition) is a popular treatment of the history, science, and observation of total solar eclipses. I explain how these rare and dramatic celestial events have influenced culture throughout the ages, from Stonehenge and ancient Egypt to Shakespeare and Mark Twain.
The book details the sagas of scientists who travel the globe to glimpse precious minutes of totality, and I explain how eclipses occur and why they continue to rivet the human imagination. The book is a great way to deepen your understanding of eclipses in anticipation of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.
 
2. When was the first edition of the book written and why did you decide to focus on this subject? Who is the foreword written by?
I wrote the first edition in 1978 just before the last total solar eclipse that passed across the continental U.S. on Feb. 26, 1979. I got interested in that eclipse because I wanted to plan a reunion of college friends focused on a unique event. It was a classic case of “I couldn’t find a good book on the subject so I wrote one.” The foreword to the first edition (also included in the third edition) was written by Frank Herbert, author of “Dune.”
 
3. Why have reviewers been so positive about the way you weave stories together about the history and science of eclipses?
The book has received rave reviews on Amazon.com, where readers have said things like: “Mr. Brewer makes it so compelling and enjoyable that one cannot help but be led along on this journey. His clear and simple explanations of the science, his own personal recollections and anecdotes, and the enjoyable unfolding of the history of this primordial Earth phenomenon draws in the most reluctant reader. A great book for all ages and levels of interest.”
 
4. Why are eclipses such memorable, once-in-a-lifetime events?
A total solar eclipse provides a unique opportunity to glimpse a view of the beautiful solar corona, or halo around the Sun, which is not visible at any other time. It’s a breathtaking sight, accompanied by an eerie daytime darkness that is unlike any other natural phenomenon.
Total solar eclipses occur about once every year and a half somewhere on the planet, but for many people, the Aug. 21 eclipse will be their only chance to see it.
 
5. What’s your best advice for people who plan to watch the upcoming eclipse?
Make sure you are inside the “path of totality” (which includes Leavenworth); otherwise you won’t experience the dramatic effects.
Use proper eye safety such as “eclipse glasses” or a pinhole projector during the partial phases before and after totality.
During the brief period of totality (two minutes or less), take off those eclipse glasses and simply enjoy looking directly at this beautiful sight. Best wishes for clear skies!

— Rimsie McConiga