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Every Monday morning at 6:49 and 8:49, IPR News Radio looks into the night sky with Mary Stewart Adams, former Program Director and founder of the International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands, who has been telling stories of the night sky on IPR since 2013.

Happily Ever After Despite Eclipse: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

partial solar eclipse.jpeg

This week I’m assuming we’ve all heard fairy tales about what happens when you forget to invite all the fairy godmothers to the much-longed-for baby’s christening. Unbeknownst to the baby, some evil curse settles into the destiny, and the whole course of the life is then motivated by trying to navigate around the curse so the bitter doom it foretells never befalls.

Now this week, there’s an annular solar eclipse, on Thursday, and the fairy tale of “The White Doe” is perfect for imagining what the eclipse brings. In the tale, the childless queen is visited by a fairy godmother disguised as a crab. She gives the queen a message, and because the queen trusts what the crab says (how odd the encounter a speaking crab, right?), the crab assumes her proper form as a beautiful fairy and leads the queen the fairy palace where all the fairies are gathered to grant her greatest wish ~ to have a child.

As an aside, it’s important to note that this isn’t a tale about fertility. The child represents the soul spirit nature of the human being, which we must give birth to out of our own striving. And sure enough, in this tale, the queen has the baby, she hosts the party, but she forgets to invite the crab fairy!

“They were all gathered round the heap of pink cushions on which the baby lay asleep, when a shadow seemed to fall between them and the sun, and a cold wind blew through the room. Everybody looked up, and there was the crab-fairy, who had grown as tall as the ceiling in her anger.”

The curse she pronounces is that the child is not allowed to see one ray of sunlight before her 15th birthday ~ you can imagine how that goes!

Find the complete fairy tale of "The White Doe" at this link.

And information about viewing the on-set of the eclipse at dawn on Thursday, June 10 is at this link. Note that the annular phase of the eclipse will not be visible in Northern Michigan, but partial phase will be.

Also, Guy Otteweel shares that despite the image shared here, "It's only in total eclipse that the Moon and sky go black. In a partial eclipse, the sky remains blue, and the Moon appears merely as a part of the blue sky, invading across the Sun. But because of the reduced sunlight there is an eerie sense of semi-darkness."