2915: Eclipse Clouds

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Eclipse Clouds
The rare compound solar-lunar-nephelogical eclipse
Title text: The rare compound solar-lunar-nephelogical eclipse


Following on from 2914: Eclipse Coolness, Randall makes another comic about the solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024.

Cueball is checking the weather forecast. At the time that this comic was posted, much of the eclipse path was projected to be overcast, and Cueball expresses disappointment as someone wishing to watch the Moon slowly block out the Sun (and not the clouds obscuring both). The off-panel voice points out the mild irony that he wanted to see something block out the Sun, so the clouds technically fit his wish, leading Cueball to exclaim that he has a specific taste for things blocking the Sun.

The title-text references the 'alignment' of Sun, Moon and cloud (Nephele [νεφέλη] is Greek for cloud), describing it as rare, although this is not really as desirable as it might make it sound. Sun/Moon conjunctions are already quite rare, so that the balance against Sun/Moon/no-cloud probabilities isn't really so notable. In theory, it should equal being the difference between cloud and no-cloud on any average day for your chosen location. In practice, scholars such as Edward A. Murphy and Finagle would argue that conjunctions of the Sun, Moon, and clouds are considerably more likely than a Sun/Moon conjunction occurring on a sunny day.

Note, as of the posting of this comic the weather reports had consistently shown the Eclipse path in Northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, the points nearest to Randall's actual home in Cambridge, MA, to have the best potential viewing in the country with near 0% projected cloud cover. While this should in theory negate Randall's anxiety, the historical forecast called for a 75% chance of cloud cover and may have prompted Randall to make other plans like visiting friends or family in sunnier portions of the eclipse path like Texas. Randall may therefore be still faced with the choice of altering his eclipse viewing plans, even if the situation technically favors New England.

"Nephelogical" appears to mean "related to clouds", but misspelled: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nephological


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball sits on an office chair at a desk, typing at his laptop.]
Cueball: These eclipse weather forecasts are killing me.
Laptop: refresh
[Cueball remains at his desk. An off-panel voice from the left speaks.]
Off-panel voice: So you really want to see something block out the sun...
[Cueball is still at his desk.]
Off-panel voice: ...But not a cloud. It has to be the Moon specifically.
Cueball: My tastes are very singular!

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I suspect Friday's and next Monday's comics will also be about the eclipse. We should be proactive and create a category for them. Barmar (talk) 17:12, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

Might explain why there was no time to fit in a decent AF comic. (And this one definitely reminds me of '99!) 17:31, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

Nephele (νεφέλη) is Greek for cloud. 17:14, 3 April 2024 (UTC)Ben

I'm still trying to find a good way to word it, for those not already aware. (There are a number of related words, c.f. germanic "nebel", "nebulous" or of course "nephelococcygia"). 17:31, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

I thought the joke in the title text is that a combined solar-lunar-nephelogical eclipse is impossible, not just "rare". You can't have a solar and lunar eclipse at the same time. Either of them can be nephelogical, though. Barmar (talk) 17:16, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

Triple-conjunctions (plus the 'viewpoint', to make it a four-body syzygy) are a thing, though. A rare thing. And not to be confused with the standard meaning of triple conjunction, but I'm not sure what else to call it (when not just a sequence across time). 17:31, 3 April 2024 (UTC)
no the clouds are occluding the moon and the moon is occluding the sun so it is a lunar eclipse. Not a nephelogical eclipse though because the clouds aren’t occluded
They are if you close your eyes. 08:28, 4 April 2024 (UTC)
If you are in Australia through India, on Monday, you will be able have a solar and lunar eclipse, as the moon will block the sun and the Earth will block the moon. :) Extremely rare. SDSpivey (talk) 15:27, 4 April 2024 (UTC)

We don't already have a catagory for eclipses?? I'd have thought someone would have made one last eclipse, since there was so many comics about them Apollo11 (talk) 17:24, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

Someone has just been adding the (currently redlinked) Category:Solar eclipses. Which is admirable, but perhaps better to have established the actual Category first. (I would have suggested "Eclipses" be created. Or at least that as a super-category for the separate Solar and Lunar cats, plus any further eclipses that individually might be mentioned.) 17:41, 3 April 2024 (UTC)
I agree, the category should be simply "Eclipses", it was foolish to specify. I feel like it's not terribly likely Randall will make a lunar eclipse comic (I understand they're less rare, and result in a red or "blood" moon) but if he does it should be categorized alongside these, and right now that wouldn't be accurate. K.I.S.S., y'know? A simpler category "captures" more, which with such a small group is more desirable. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:40, 20 April 2024 (UTC)
I created the category page. I wasn't sure what should go on it, so other people could review it guess who (if you want to | what i have done) 23:50, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

Oddly enough, clouds tend to disappear during eclipses. Strange, but true. 20:03, 3 April 2024 (UTC)

Maybe they're there, but you can't see them because it's dark :) Barmar (talk) 00:55, 4 April 2024 (UTC)
Clouds typically form because warm air rises, cools off in the higher layers and water vapor then condenses. During an eclipse, the Sun no longer heats the ground, temperature drops a bit, and thus the cloud forming mechanism is interrupted. This means that there will indeed be somewhat fewer/less dense clouds during an eclipse. It is definitely not enough to get rid of all possible clouds, but I have seen a lightly overcast sky clear up when the totality approached. 06:41, 4 April 2024 (UTC)
I've seen lightly overcast skies clear up when there wasn't an eclipse, though - how do you explain that? 08:31, 4 April 2024 (UTC)
Clearly that was just an eclipse you couldn't see! Checkmate! 13:58, 4 April 2024 (UTC)
To the clear up without eclipse question: that could be a matter of the butterfly in the Brazil rainforest [i]not[/i] flapping its wings. We are usually only told what happens when the butterfly is active, but it stands to reason that quiet and clear weather results when the beastie is asleep. 06:59, 5 April 2024 (UTC)

Nobody has mentioned that Eclipse coolness tends to a Dirac delta function. I fear this site is dumbing down. 12:39, 4 April 2024 (UTC)

Perhaps its creator is more focused on financial functions these days - such as the one asserting that every equation in a published work cuts sales/hits by half. 19:49, 4 April 2024 (UTC)

I always thought Murphy's given name was Edsel. 19:49, 4 April 2024 (UTC)

"My tastes are very singular" is a quote from Fifty Shades of Gray and, by the looks of it, a bit of a meme because of that. It seems to me the use here is intentional... and I don't know what to do with the info. Personally, I'd forget that book if I could. LRataplan (talk) 15:00, 5 April 2024 (UTC)

Surprising how Randall didn't post a comic this Friday. Anyone heard from him? 13:34, 6 April 2024 (UTC)

Given the absence of an April 5 comic, so far, I wondered if there is a trick in the April 3 strip (2915) and we are supposed to refresh (a lot) to see something new? But I tried about 20 times without results. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yeah, where'd the Friday comic go? -- Danger Kitty (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The wait was worth it, I suppose. 01:02, 8 April 2024 (UTC)