At the end of last week there was a solar eclipse in California. Further north (and over much of Japan) there was a full solar eclipse. Here in San Francisco there was a partial solar eclipse. I have seen these twice before, once as a child and once in graduate school.
More than anything else, I love the way that partial solar eclipses can be seen in the shadows cast as it happens, an innumerable overlay of tiny crescent suns on grass and sidewalks.
Our neighborhood is not just family-friendly but friendly in general, and one of our neighbors showed up at the commercial strip a few blocks from our house with an impressive telescope so that passersby could see the eclipse reflected through it. Our daughter is too young to understand any of what was happening, and was annoyed that we had stopped on the sidewalk when we were so close to the ice cream store. But our son, at 6.5 years, is almost old enough to understand that something interesting was happening, and I coaxed him over to see it.
In hindsight I realized I forgot, in all the excitement, to take a picture of our neighbor’s bike, which he had used to carry the not-insubstantial telescope to the corner (complete with its impressive battery pack). It was not a dedicated cargo bike, but it got the job done, and it seemed in no way remarkable that he was offering views through the telescope while still geared up in his helmet and neon bike jacket, or that he had brought it to the corner this way. Because how else would you get a large telescope to a busy street corner in San Francisco?