To the editor: Jay Pasachoff was a real friend who offered a connection to the solar system and a taste of the unknown. ("Williams College professor Jay Pasachoff remembered as accomplished scientist and dedicated educator," Eagle, Nov. 21.)
During the early morning eclipse of June 2021, I awoke just as The Berkshire Eagle was being delivered to our remote farm looking east to the start of the greatest eclipse of the year. The sun was just beginning to rise. I knew Jay would be ready with solar camera and a crowd of people somewhere. But where was he? As my son and I were looking at the effects of this awesome event, shadows began to rapidly change on the barn in back of us.
They were moving to the exact position of the moon's path across the sun. A most amazing horizon ever seen. Where were my astronomy friends now? I knew Jay would be capturing this event somewhere. My colleagues at the New York amateur astronomers club would certainly be watching this from Hunter Mountain. But where was Jay?
As it turns out, he was in the most remote part of the United States in the northern Midwest. He called me back later to tell me that he was in Michigan on an airplane at 30,000 feet because the clouds were blocking the sun. He had charted a plane with other eclipse chasers to fly above the clouds to experience another taste of heaven. I mentioned that I saw the eclipse on my barn and in the field.
Jay's pictures were published in Sky & Telescope magazine for everyone to see. Mine were sent to The Berkshire Eagle. I knew Jay and I would share another interesting beer together at the Purple Pub in Williamstown soon. I'll miss those visits to Williams to see the man who could not end his love for the unknown. His wonderful enlightenment of solar events was considered impossible for centuries. May Jay Pasachoff be remembered and much blessings to his family and wife Naomi. The heavens are only as far away as we make them. Rest in peace.
Mark Earl Dallmeyer, Pittsfield