This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Word To Use Today: eclipse.

There's an eclipse in Britain today. The sun will be almost covered by the moon at about 9.30 am, and I'll be out with a piece of card with a pin-hole in it, or a colander, or a bucket of water, safely watching the crescent of the sun. 

Well, I will if the whole thing isn't obscured by the clouds, anyway.

It's not just the sun that gets eclipsed, of course. Whenever something gets in the way of Earth's view of any celestial body the body is deemed, in our ridiculously human-centred idea of the universe, to be eclipsed. Sun, moon, planet, star - and the stars don't even have to be celestial. A human star whose position at the top of his profession has been usurped by another has also been eclipsed.

Sun, moon, planet, star...

...and, of course, ducks.

Yes, ducks. Some birds, and round here it's ducks where you notice it most, lose their feathers after the breeding season. If you see a raft of mallards and they all look like females, then some of them are probably really eclipsed males. 

Sadly they don't go actually completely bald, they just look a bit dull. Some species lose their ability to fly for a while, too.

Here's a mallard drake going into eclipse.

File:Mallard getting eclipse plumage.jpg
Photos by Mardos07

It'd be dead interesting if humans went through the same sort of process. 

Although of course in that case one of the first inventions of human science would have been a really efficient green hair dye.

Good might well have changed the whole course of history, too, mightn't it.

Word To Use Today: eclipse. This word comes from the Old English eclypsis. The Greek ekleipsis means a forsaking.

No comments:

Post a Comment