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107: Vacation Destination

For Tuesday, April 16, Day 107 of the Story-a-Day Challenge

By Gerard DiLeoPublished about a month ago 2 min read
The sheer coincidence of the relative proportions is mind-boggling!

"Father," his son asked, "where are we going on vacation? We don't have a lot of time."

"Don't worry about that, son," the father replied. "We only need about four minutes."

His daughter, a little younger, laughed. "Daddy, you're funny. What can we do in only four mintues?"

"Well, children, we're going to see a total solar eclipse."

"What's that?" she asked. His son perked up, curious.

"There is a place where the Moon--right at that very place--is going to pass in front of the Sun." The children looked at him quizzically.

"I don't get it," his son said.

"You see, the Moon goes around the world, and the world goes around the Sun. And just every so often--I mean--it's very rare, the Moon passes in front of the Sun for people who are lucky enough to be right under that."

"What happens?" the daughter asked.

"When you put something in front of a bright light, what happens?"

"A shadow!" the son exclaimed.


"So the Moon's going to make a shadow on the world?" his daughter asked.

"Yes." The children, again, looked confused.

"That's our vacation?" the daughter asked.

"Yes, we're going to where the shadow lands. That's our vacation. And many others will be there to see it!"

"Why?" the son wondered, "I don't wanna just be in some shadow for my vacation."

"This is different. To be there and watch the Sun just turn off like that, like a hole in the sky, all dark, with a ghostly halo around it."

"Halo?" the daughter gasped.

"It's all relative, children. The Moon has to be just the right size to block out the Sun, but not too big or small; and it has to be just so far away from the world to be that size to the people looking up from the ground; and the world has to be just so far from the Sun for that size to match up. The perfection of such relativity is one of the great wonders of the Universe. Do you know how rare a place has to be for that all that to happen exactly like that?"

"So," the son asked, "where's this place?"

"Earth, son."

Shadow show.



While such a perfect eclipse is a rare thing, it occurred to me that there can't be that many 3-body phenomena (Planet, Star, Moon) that are so perfect a presentation as what our Earth gives us. The moon, perfectly sized and distanced--just so--to block out our star in toto--not too little, not too much, to give us such a perfect eclipse. It's like this was given as a gift to us, on purpose. I found it amusing that the path of totality might not be just the perfect place to visit for us, but that the Earth might be the perfect place to catch such a galactically rare event for aliens. And I know it has to be rare, even in a whole galaxy. Eclipses happen, certainly, but total? and not "over"-total? Not "under"-total? Earth — the hottest alien destination. Go Total or Go Home!


For Tuesday, April 16, Day 107 of the Story-a-Day Challenge. Now well into triple digits!


All pictures are AI-generated, but the astronomical serendipity is not!


There are currenly three Vocal creators still participating in the Story-a-Day Challenge:

  • L.C. Schäfer, challenge originator
  • Rachel Deeming
  • Gerard DiLeo (myself)


SeriesSci FiMicrofiction

About the Creator

Gerard DiLeo

Retired, not tired. In Life Phase II: Living and writing from a decommissioned church in Hull, MA. (Phase I was New Orleans and everything that entails. Hippocampus, behave!

[email protected]

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    I often wondered that too, about how the moon is so perfectly sized and perfectly distanced for ths perfect eclipse. Loved your story!

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