RCS STEM Event: 2017 Eclipse Viewing

2017 Eclipse Across America web banner, size 1041x320px gray photo background

One of the hallmarks of STEM education is that it is authentic and relevant to students’ own lives.  What can be more relevant than a once-in-a-lifetime science experience here in our very own hometown?

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. The last time a total eclipse crossed the United States from coast to coast was June 8, 1918. The 2017 eclipse in either total or partial phase can be seen by over 500 million people in North and South America, Europe, and Africa. In the U.S., millions will gather along a tiny ribbon less than 100 miles wide to see totality, the complete blocking out of the sun by the Moon which will reveal the solar corona. In our area, we will be able to see a partial eclipse in which the sun is expected to be approximately 97.5% obscured. It is also truly an historic event and a wonderful opportunity to view one of nature’s most stunning displays.  While some families may choose to attend the event in the path of totality, many may not be able to do so.  With that in mind…

RCS is embracing this incredible learning opportunity with its students, and parents are welcome to attend!

But first, some details…

  • Your child will be taught not only about the science related to solar eclipses, but also the procedures for safely viewing this event. Additionally, we have purchased special solar eclipse viewing glasses for each student. These glasses are ISO 12312-2 compliant and CE certified.
  • Parents who attend the eclipse viewing with their child will be expected to provide their own eclipse glasses for safe viewing.
  • If you plan to attend the viewing @ RCS, there will be a special sign-in table set up in the lobby at 1:30 p.m. Report to your child’s classroom immediately after signing in.
  • Your child’s teacher will send home a liability release form for the eclipse viewing. Only students who return the form will be allowed to participate.
  • Should you choose for your child to be excluded from this event, he/she may watch the live stream of the event inside the school.

Want to join us?  We’d love to have you!

Want to learn more? See below.  (I’ve spent the majority of the summer “geeking out” over this.)

Baily's Beads effect

Baily’s Beads effect taken Dec. 4, 2002. Credit: Arne Danielson

Because the moon’s surface isn’t smooth, it causes sunlight to shine through some parts, while blocked by others.  This effect is called Baily’s Beads, and can sometimes resemble a diamond ring when only one bit of sunlight passes through.

Eclipse Shadow from Space

Eclipse Shadow from Space

This was taken from the Mir space station during a solar eclipse on Aug. 11, 1999.  The shadow of the Moon was projected onto Earth

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