Latest Issue

A reflection on the “Great American Eclipse”—and the beauty of an unexplained phenomenon

I could never have anticipated what would happen when I took my grandson, Max, to see his first eclipse

By Frank Close  

The "Great American Solar Eclipse". Photo: PA

I waited 45 years for my first total solar eclipse before finally seeing it on 11 August 1999, in Cornwall. It was cloudy.

Solar eclipses are repeated every 18 years, 10 and 1/3 days, which brings us to 21 August 2017. The one-third is important: in that extra 8 hours the Earth spins eight time-zones. So instead of Cornwall, this time I headed for the western United States and the so-called “Great American Eclipse.” I decided to take my 7 years old grandson,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect