Getting Eclipsed at St. Joseph

How the eclipse looked up in the sky.

How the eclipse looked up in the sky.

Bella Fuentes, Staff writer

The Total Solar Eclipse took place on August 21st and for the entire week at Saint Joseph High School, it was all anyone could talk about. While we did not make a school wide event of the phenomenon, many teachers shared knowledge of how eclipses occur and what people thought about them from different viewpoints.

Eclipses occur when one celestial object casts a shadow and blocks another celestial object. There are many different types of eclipses that take place all the time at different places around the world.

The total eclipse is when the moon is perfectly aligned with the sun and the earth, creating a ring around the moon from the suns’ rays of light. A total eclipse actually happens every 18 months, but it is difficult for scientists to view and study them when they appear at remote locations around the world.

Many people once believed that the eclipse was a sign of God. The debate was whether it was God punishing everyone in total darkness, or sharing the wonders he created with us. The Native Americans view the eclipse as the moon eating the sun, and fear it.

Of course, now that we have a better understanding with scientific discoveries, many cultures have dropped these fears and beliefs. We are also taking an attempt at discovering new things about the eclipse. The corona, or the ring of light around the moon is actually made of hydrogen gas, and many scientists have an interest in, as we can see what the edge of the sun looks like and is composed of.

Either way you see the eclipse, many students had fun witnessing this phenomenon. English teachers Mr. Janco and Mr. Sinacore allowed their class to take a few minutes out of their work days to view the eclipse.

The next total eclipse is on April 8th, 2024. Hopefully more people will live the experience next time around, as the viewing spot was far away from Saint Joseph.

What was impressive were the activities in which students participated as academic departments created opportunities for learning that focused on the eclipse.

Examples of the day’s classwork from some classes included:

Business: Business and economics classes discussed supply and demand in certain towns as related to the influx of people who wished to see the path of totality.

English: Theme, imagery and the author’s purpose of musical and poetic lyrics were discussed, including selections from Pink Floyd’s album, Dark Side of the Moon.

Mathematics: Using a point-plot fitting function on a graphing calculator to generate quadratic equations, the graphs of previous and yet to occur paths of totality were graphed to determine where they cross the path of the 2017 eclipse.

Science: Students discussed lunar rotation, the umbra and penumbra (shades of shadow), longitude and latitude, and cause and effect of looking directly at the sun. Anatomy & Physiology students discussed how the positon of the moon affects the body/health.

Social Studies: Students discussed the frequency of eclipses and their cultural associations along with the mythology of eclipses, from the Babylonians and the Chinese to tribal beliefs today.