The Dark Side of the Moon, a monster record in the history of rock, had its 50th anniversary back on March 1. As you’d expect from Pink Floyd and their label, there have been multiple re-releases marking the event. Standard stuff. Nice, but not exactly earthshaking.
At some point, someone in the offices of Pink Floyd or their record company must have said “There’s gotta be something else we can do beyond issuing another box set. But what?” That’s when the nerdy person in the corner piped up.
“There’s a total eclipse of the sun coming up on April 20. The last song on the album is ‘Eclipse.’ What if we held a contest where some lucky fans were taken into the path of the eclipse and we timed the playing of the album so that we get to ‘Eclipse’ during an actual eclipse.'”
Because of the path of totality (it was mainly over open water but also clipped the northwest portion of Australia, portions of southern Indonesia, and western Paupau, New Guinea), a decision was made to offer this opportunity only in Australia. And it was limited to just eight winners. Bummer, I know.
Those eight people–dubbed the Astronome Domine 8–were transported to a beach in Western Australia (the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ningaloo Marine Park, apparently the best place in the world to observe the eclipse) where they were confronted by a big, black Floyd-y pyramid/prism.
Dark Side of the Moon was played through headphones. As Roger Waters sings the final words–“…but the sun is eclipsed by the moon,” the actual moon eclipsed the actual sun at 11:29 am Western Australia Time. How cool is that?
I’ve been lucky to see an eclipse from my backyard in February 1979. It. Was. Spectacular.
The next big eclipse event will be on April 8, 2024, when the path of totality will sweep across North America, including portions of Southern Ontario, Southern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. Start praying for clear skies now.