Sunday, August 20, 2017

Solar eclipse 2017: Keep calm and drink (sun) tea

Best to be prepared for tomorrow's solar eclipse.  While special glasses or hand-crafted viewing equipment, (see below) are important, don't forget about your choice of tea.  Keep calm and drink sun-themed tea.

Tomorrow, August 21, the first solar eclipse in the continental US since 1979 will take place. While Michigan isn't in the "path of totality" that crosses several states from Oregon to North Carolina, we'll get about an 80% view of the eclipse, per The Detroit Free Press.

From 1:00 PM to almost 4:00 PM, the moon will cover a portion of the sun. At approximately, 2:27 in Detroit, the moon be directly in front of the sun, turning afternoon light into night time. I know what you're thinking - that's just in line with afternoon tea time. And, you are right!

Black tea is an excellent choice, considering the outlook of the afternoon sky at 2:30.  Here's what we picked out:

Hot Cinnamon SUNset from Harney & Sons. This is a spunky black tea blend with cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves. This will keep you going when nature lulls you into a premature evening atmosphere.

Another black tea choice for the eclipse is Tiger Tea from Yumchaa.  It is a refreshing Assam black tea with orange, blackberry, apricot and SUNflower.  We bought this in London at a Sunday Market when last in England, and find it to be a lovely alternative to Earl Grey in the afternoon.  Hearty, but fruity, it will lean you in the direction of the eclipse.

While black tea is a great pick-me-up in the afternoon, some of us rely on herbal tea to reduce the caffeine intake after noon. Light of Day's SUN in Winter is a fruit salad blend of ingredients with blackberries, cherries, blueberries, grapes, and currents along with lemon myrtle and lemon balm. A tisane that is prepared to "make you feel sunny in dark winter months".  If it can sustain us during the months of November through February, it should be more than sufficient for two minutes on an August afternoon.

Now for the other necessary equipment, aside from your teacup and kettle, for eclipse viewing - a pinhole projection box. The one we have here was put together at the home of BTS partner, Pam B., using an empty Cheerios box.

Put a piece of white paper at the bottom of the inside of the cereal box. Cut out the box top and place aluminum foil over the opening. Insert a pinhole in the aluminum foil. This pinhole allows the sun to reflect on the white paper at the bottom. You just look inside to see the eclipse in reflection.

My son, Rob, is the only one in our family who is actually traveling to another state for a better experience. He'll be in Kentucky tomorrow afternoon and I'll be anxious to hear about the eclipse festivities in the blue grass state.

As for me, I'll be at home with my pinhole projection device and a cup of tea. Keep calm and enjoy this rare occurrence. As noted in Time, we'll have to wait seven more years for the next one.