Students Observe Partial Eclipse Of The Sun

Students Observe Partial Eclipse Of The Sun

EclipseDSC_1229Written by John Mills ’18

On Monday, August 21, 2017, we experienced a near total eclipse, in which the moon covered the majority of the sun. This gave us students an opportunity to take science beyond the classroom and experience God’s might first hand with a proper balance of safety and inquiry.

After receiving scientific instruction on the eclipse in our shortened fourth‐period classes, we all filed down to the gym to receive our ISO‐rated solar glasses, secured by Westminster Academy in planning this event. We then processed out to the athletic field to make like sunflowers and look towards the sky.

The glasses were tinted to a degree in which nothing could be seen out of them save for an iPhone flashlight and the sun, so we were instructed not to put them on until we were safely on the field. Everyone excitedly embarked on this excellent educational endeavor. Once we were safely supervised on the field, we donned our safety goggles and turned our eyes heavenward. Looking like something out of a Star Wars motion picture, the sun was indeed beginning to be obscured by the moon.

But the weather had other plans. The eclipse had darkened the sky. At exactly 2:56 p.m., one minute before peak eclipse, the clouds rolled in front of the sun, and refused to shift, like a tall person sitting in front of you at a movie theater. By the time the clouds decided to “switch seats” and get out of the way, the max eclipse had already passed. So, at 2:58 p.m., as students were filtered into the gym, the awe‐inspiring, not‐fully‐covered sun still hung in the sky—a sight not to be seen again for seven years.

The predictability and reliability with which we can predict this event (and even the next one!) only serve to point us to our incredible, precise Creator. Here’s hoping for better weather on April 8, 2024.

Eclipsed sun photo to credit Patrick Mills ’20