An annular solar eclipse observed from Tokyo in 2012.
Masashi Hara/Getty Images
Masashi Hara/Getty Images
Consider this your semi-regular reminder that, well, space is pretty neat.
If you’re in the southern hemisphere and you happen to look up Sunday morning — or, for everyone else, if you happen to have Internet access — you may have the chance to see an annular solar eclipse. Unlike a total solar eclipse, this one will leave just a sliver of sunlight shining at the rim of the moon’s shadow as passes between Earth and the sun.
The effect is a bit like an inept hide-and-seeker standing behind a bush he’s just a little too big for — or, to adopt a simile closer to Johnny Cash’s heart, like a burning “ring of fire.” Though the moon may slide in front of the sun, the moon will be a little too far from Earth — and thus, from our vantage point, too small — to conceal the sun entirely.
The event will be visible above “parts of the Southern Hemisphere, including Chile, Argentina and Angola,” NASA says.
The New York Times breaks down the eclipse’s timing:
“It will quickly make landfall in southern Chile around 9:10 a.m. local time, and then traverse into Argentina. Sky watchers in Argentina will see approximately 97 percent of the sun covered by the moon for about a minute, according to [NASA astrophysicist C. Alex] Young.
“After that, the spectacle will cross the South Atlantic into Africa. It will hit parts of Angola around 4:15 p.m. local time and make appearances in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo before the sun sets. It will last for a minute and a few seconds when it crosses over these countries.”
But, one might wonder, what if you happen happen to find yourself outside the path of the eclipse Sunday morning?
Have no fear, dear denizens of the northern hemisphere: If you’ve got a decent Internet connection, you can still get a glimpse. Slooh Community Observatory, a network of telescope feeds, will be live-streaming the eclipse here starting at 7 a.m. ET.
And for those lucky enough to see the event firsthand, please, protect your eyes: “You can NEVER look directly at the sun, and an annular eclipse is no exception!” NASA warns. The agency has a few tips here on how to properly view the eclipse without, you know, losing the ability to view the next one.
In this 2015 photograph, Lucille Horn stands on the boardwalk outside her home in Long Beach, N.Y.
When Lucille Horn was born in 1920, the odds of her managing to live out the year were long. A premature infant, Horn was just 2 pounds — small enough to be held in her father’s hand. Her twin had died at birth, and at that point it looked for all the world as if she would soon, too.
Instead, with the help of an enterprising doctor and a rather odd sideshow at New York’s Coney Island, Horn would go on to live another 96 years. She died on Feb. 11, according to Hungerford & Clark Funeral Home, nearly a century after nearly every expert told her parents she would.
“They didn’t have any help for me at all,” Horn told her daughter Barbara in a 2015 StoryCorps interview. At that time, the state of medicine was such that babies born as prematurely as Horn had very little chance of surviving. “It was just: You die because you didn’t belong in the world.”
Except one doctor, in particular, did not accept that assessment.
For four decades, Martin Couney pioneered the use of incubators to keep infants like Horn alive — but these incubators were so widely rejected by the medical establishment, he resorted to funding his work in a very unconventional way: by displaying the babies in a Coney Island sideshow, charging viewers 25 cents to see the show.
Dr. Martin Couney holds Beth Allen, one of his incubator babies, at Luna Park in Coney Island. This photo was taken in 1941.
Courtesy of Beth Allen
Courtesy of Beth Allen
Upon her father’s insistance, Horn was accepted as one Couney’s patient-attractions at no charge to her parents, just as he did with thousands of other babies he treated at Coney Island. About six months later, Horn was healthy enough to go home.
As we reported, Couney himself died in 1950, after incubators like his were finally being adopted in hospitals.
Horn, who went on to have five children of her own, worked as a crossing guard and then as a legal secretary for her husband, according The Associated Press.
Years after her treatment in Couney’s incubator, she said she returned to the exhibit as a visitor and introduced to the doctor who saved her life.
“And there was a man standing in front of one of the incubators looking at his baby,” Horn told her daughter in 2015, “and Dr. Couney went over to him and he tapped him on the shoulder.
“He said, ‘Look at this young lady. She’s one of our babies. And that’s how your baby’s gonna grow up.’ “
So, a baby bongo, eh? Sure, the tiny bounding antelope born recently to the Los Angeles Zoo is cute — but the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden may have just done them one better: a tiny one-month-old hippopotamus named Fiona, making her parents proud by stepping back into the pool.
On Friday, the zoo celebrated the baby hippo’s return to pool time with a video of the big moment, which can be watched at the top of this page.
On the face of it, this may not seem too big a deal. After all, the zoo says baby Fiona “has outgrown two pools already!” What’s another little dip to a hippo so prodigious?
In this photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo, the prematurely born hippo named Fiona rests on a towel, on Monday. The zoo says the hippo recovered from dehydration this week with the help of staff from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
But Fiona has had a tough go of it so far. Born six weeks early, more than 20 pounds lighter than the typical birth weight for a Nile hippo, she has received round-the-clock care during her first month of life. The process has been so strenuous, the zoo put out a call for donations to help cover the cost of the care.
In fact, when Fiona suffered from dehydration earlier this month, the zoo even reached out to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for assistance. Local news station WCPO reports the hospital’s Vascular Access Team, a group that works with prematurely born (human) children, helped place an IV in the little hippo.
The swim depicted in Friday’s video was Fiona’s first since the dehydration scare. Zoo researcher Jessye Wojtusik told WCPO that swims like this one help build Fiona’s strength, which is crucial before Fiona can finally be returned to her mother, who is being kept nearby.
“We love [Fiona] to pieces,” Wojtusik said. “She’s at about 50 pounds now — so she’s about what she should have weighed when she was born.”
Now, Wojtsusik says baby Fiona faces her next grand challenge: teething.