Solar stares

Rare eclipse brings out viewers of all ages


Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – Students began their Monday in anticipation of seeing the eclipse, the first one in 99 years to strike a path across the east and west coast.

Science teachers used the eclipse as part of their course studies by taking students out to view the solar event with proper eye wear.

Brandon Cromwell teaches science at the middle school and said he appreciated a chance to get his students outside the classroom.

“To me it’s cool to see kids witness a science phenomenon. We would normally watch this on TV or on a video,” he said. “This teaches them that science can be in the real world, not just from a textbook or video. I’m happy to show them that science is all around us all the time. It’s always great to get kids out here.”

Before heading out with paper, pencils, chairs and several telescopes, Cromwell explained the dangers of looking at the sun during the eclipse.

“The radiation is very high, so you really should only look at it through these glasses for two or three seconds and then look away,” he warned.

Cromwell set up telescopes and positioned them so that the reflection from the lens was visible on the ground. He instructed his students to take a piece of paper and trace the image. Students were wide-eyed to see it both on paper and in the sky, and a few were a little leery.

“It’s really cool,” Karter Fouts said. “It’s so different, right it now it feels weird. It feels cooler but it feels awkwardly cooler.”

The temperature was predicted to drop up to 10 degrees by meteorologists and it was noticeable.  Most of the students were excited.

“I like seeing it,” Chris Zapatka said. “I’ve seen one before, a half one, when I lived in Texas. I’m glad I’m seeing a full one.”
Logan Murphy drew an outline of the crescent shape from the reflection of the telescope lens.

“It’s really cool because it will be awhile before we see another one,” she said.
Some parents checked their children out of school to watch the eclipse as a family. Mother and daughter Diana and Brooke Steincamp sat on the east side of the middle school building to watch.

“She couldn’t miss it,” Diana said of her daughter. “She loves science. If I hadn’t come up here and checked her out, she would have been

Brooke was thankful. “I love science. I want to work for NASA and go to Mars,” she explained.

Sixth grade students in Mrs. Orts’ science class learned from the eclipse’s lesson. Ethan Holliday said he learned that, “you can go blind if you look at it.” Zoey McCready said she found out that, “it doesn’t happen very often.”

“There are three types,” Caleb Niygren explained. “Total, partial, and eclipse.”
Due to safety concerns, students in grades three and younger were not allowed to participate in the viewing.

The previous total eclipse in America to travel across the nation was June 8, 1918 when the nation was gripped in it’s first world war. It began south of Japan, across the Pacific Ocean, and started it’s path across the nation in Baker City, Oregon.

The eclipse on Monday began just north of Newport, Oregon onto Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina.