The Eclipse Effect

On Friday, April 5, my wife and I took off from our home in Iowa and headed toward New England — the only area along the path of the April 8 total solar eclipse forecast to have clear skies. By Saturday, the weather was improving in central Indiana, so we turned back a bit and spent Saturday night in Indianapolis. Sunday morning’s forecast suggested Cape Girardeau, MO might be the place to be. I saw the 2017 eclipse from Makanda, IL, which is about 2 hours from Cape Girardeau, so we headed to that area to spend Sunday night — with the idea we might move quickly on Monday morning, in time to set up for the 12:40 PM “first contact” (C1) between the sun and the moon.

Monday morning things looked no better in southern Missouri than they were in southern Illinois, so we headed to Makanda to reprise my 2017 experience at the place where the two paths of totality (2017 and 2024) met.

With me was a new Seestar S50 Smart Telescope. The Seestar is just a sophisticated digital camera. You set it on its tripod, calibrate its internal compass, level it up, then tap “sun” in its app. It just rotates and looks up and finds the sun, then follows it across the sky until you tell it to stop.

We got some great footage with the telescope. I combined it with my iPhone footage to document our experience.

The big telescope is just there to impress the kids. The workhorse Seestar is the little guy on the ground on the left.

Meanwhile, At Laridian

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve figured out over the last 5-6 years that we’ve settled in on a marketing schedule where we announce a new product or sale every Monday morning. The email goes out around 9:30 AM Central Time. This tends to make Mondays our best revenue day. On Thursday, the email goes out to anyone who hasn’t opened it yet, as a reminder that they’re not keeping up. 🙂

After getting back in the office, I looked at Monday’s orders and found an interesting pattern. We had an initial bump around 9:30 AM as expected, but then starting in the hour that the partial eclipse started in southwest Texas, sales fell to all but nothing. They didn’t come up until the hour after the total eclipse ended in northeastern Maine. For the rest of the day they were higher than usual as everyone recovered from staring at the sun.

In this graph I’ve normalized the sales numbers so that “peak sales” is at the same level for both a typical Monday and eclipse Monday. The point is not to reveal exact numbers but to show the dramatic effect of the eclipse. Sales are reported hourly, so the slant in the line that starts at 14:00 (2PM) doesn’t mean that we started to see sales as soon as totality started in the midwest, but rather that there were a lot more sales in the 3:00 hour than the 2:00 hour.

I suspect there might be more to see here, but I haven’t taken time to dig into it. For example, I wouldn’t expect to see as much of a difference in sales from western states as from eastern states, since the former were so far away from the path of totality.

I wouldn’t normally share information like this but it was so dramatic that it seemed like it might be interesting. And I don’t blame you for not buying anything during the eclipse — even those of us at Laridian were doing nothing but watching the eclipse along with you.

Thinking about PocketBible users’ group meetings in Iceland in 2026 and Sydney in 2028.


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