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Total Solar Eclipse 2024

Many still remember the excitement around the 2017 total solar eclipse. Well, happened again on Monday, April 8, of this year. In a path a little more than 100 miles across, going northeastward from Texas through the Midwest and into New England, 32 million people were able to see a total eclipse. People who live in that path, also called the path of totality, have seen the day turn into night and have observed the faint atmosphere of the sun—the corona—surround the dark disk of the moon. Everyone else in North America (more than 400 million people) have seen a nice partial eclipse.

There are many misconceptions about eclipses that make their way into the world of education. One is that somehow the sun emits more dangerous radiation during an eclipse. Not true. Another is that even momentarily looking directly at the sun will cause permanent eye damage. Also, not true! Looking at the sun for a prolonged time can hurt your eyes, but very few people ever do that because it hurts. In fact, a 2000 study by ophthalmologists found no recorded cases of permanent vision loss after a solar eclipse passed across the United Kingdom in 1999.

The value of students observing this dramatic celestial phenomenon for themselves should be obvious. Science-learning standards in most states require students to know what causes the phases of the moon and how the clockwork-like motion of the sun and moon produce eclipses (e.g., the Next Generation Science Standards space-science performance expectations.) How better to learn about these concepts than by experiencing the real thing?

The Biblical meaning of Solar Eclipse: John’s vision in Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, includes this description of a cosmic event that mirrors the language of eclipses and is interpreted as a sign of God’s power and the unfolding of end-times prophecy, Some Christians have taken this as evidence that the upcoming eclipse is an indication that Jesus’s return is imminent. But there is no logical basis for this theory. For starters, solar eclipses are not quite as rare as they seem.

In astrology, the eclipse signifies the darkness of the ego and the potential for spiritual rebirth, marking a moment to release past patterns and embrace new perspectives.

From NASA’s group: “This year’s total solar eclipse represents a unique opportunity for NASA and partners to collaborate to inspire and engage students across the country.”

For those lucky enough to have had clear skies, the partial solar eclipse was indeed a wondrous sight. A spectacle in the sky!## -By Anonymous Editorialist


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