Solar eclipse 101

Cary Ashby • Aug 17, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Main Street School science teacher Marcy Burns will be one of the “citizen scientists” gathering information for NASA about the total solar eclipse.

The eclipse will start about 1 p.m. Monday with 80 percent coverage in this area happening about 2:30.

“If you miss this one, there’s another one April 8, 2024 and that one is even better viewing for the people in Ohio,” Burns said.

Burns will submit her information about the eclipse to the GLOBE program, which stands for Global Learning in Observations to Benefit the Environment.

“We will collect cloud cover data and air temperature,” she said. “Anybody can submit data to NASA.”

The collected data will show if there are air-temperature variations at various regions, such as the mountains, plains or desert, and how the temperature during the eclipse will impact cloud formations.

“Temperature affects cloud formation,” said Burns, who is collaborating with Kevin Czajkowski, a professor at The University of Toledo.

Libraries are holding solar eclipse watching events.

Residents can meet at the Norwalk Public Library at 12:50 p.m. Monday in the conference room near the children’s room. Special protective glasses are available for participants, but otherwise the library is out.

The Sandusky Public Library will have a watching event from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday. The library will be streaming the live NASA video. The website is www.nasa.gov/eclipselive.

“It hits its peak here about 2:30 (p.m.),” said Carly Rogers, a youth services librarian. “We have been out of glasses for quite some time.”

Children’s craft activities at Sandusky include an ultra-violet bead that reacts in sunlight and creating bookmarks.

The Reflector sold 300 pairs of glasses, while the Sandusky Register sold 700. Both papers are sold out.

Watching the eclipse can damage your eyes.

“Don’t look at it without (special) protective glasses,” said Burns, who warns people that watching the eclipse through a telescope or wearing regular sunglasses is insufficient.

“There are other ways to view the eclipse,” the science teacher added.

You can hold up a colander and the sunlight will go through the holes, which can be seen on the ground or a piece of cardboard. Also, you can put a pin hole in a piece of cardboard. The eclipse will be visible on a second piece of cardboard or paper. 

“You don’t want to look at the sun. There won’t be a total eclipse in Ohio; it will be 80 percent,” Burns said. 

Burns explained what a solar eclipse is.

“An eclipse is just the moon’s shadow on the Earth. … Think of the moon photobombing the sun; it is jumping in front of the sun,” she said. “It’s a very small shadow.

“The moon revolves around the Earth and the Earth is revolving around the sun. And when the moon is between the sun and the earth, it blocks some of the sun and casts a shadow on a very small part of the Earth.”

While solar eclipses happen with regularity, the science teacher said to experience them you have to be at a certain location. Burns said sometimes an eclipse can happen and no one may be able to see the shadow since it is cast on the ocean.

“It’s rare (this time) because it goes all across the United States. Sometimes it cuts off the corner,” she added. “The route it travels is coast to coast. It starts in Oregon and goes to one of the Carolinas.”

The full eclipse lasts for less than two minutes.

Burns’ mother, who lives near Columbia, Mo., is expecting company for the eclipse.

“People are staying at her farm to experience it,” Burns said. “A lot of people are interested in it. People are getting on the bandwagon.”

For more information about solar eclipses, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov.

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