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The Total Solar Eclipse

By: Morgan Thomas/Social Media Manager and Emma Davis/Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, April 8 when the Blue Ridge School District experiences a nearly total solar eclipse, students will be ready to watch and learn.

The school’s  superintendent, Matthew Button, says: “In the days leading up to and on the day of the event our instructional staff will be educating our students
about the solar eclipse and safety precautions if choosing to view the solar eclipse.”

The 2024 solar eclipse is predicted to be “better” than the last eclipse in 2017 as it will have a 60% wider path and duration.

Blue Ridge High School science teacher and meteorologist Alec Mazikewich provided information for all Blue Ridge teachers by email, writing: “If I calculated this out properly, I believe the sun for Susquehanna County will be about 96.5 – 97% covered at the peak of the eclipse…which will be around 3:20 p.m.”

For Susquehanna County, says Mazikewich, “it looks like the event will start around 2:00 p.m. and last until 4:30 p.m.”

Percentage of sky with cloud cover for April 8th, 2024. Pink area is the path of totality. Red dotted line is the peak of totality. Graphic: courtesy Alec Mazikewich

While the peak of the eclipse will take place at 3:23 p.m., people will still need to protect their eyes during its entirety.

“Even though the Sun will be covered up to around 96.5% – 97% at the peak of the eclipse,” says Mazikewich, “there still is a high concentration of light waves that will be making it around the moon.  It will be imperative to wear eye protection throughout the entire eclipse event.”

Butto says Blue Ridge students will each receive a pair of 12312-2 certified safe solar eclipse glasses “to ensure student safety during any solar eclipse instructional activities that occur that day.”

Students need to be aware of this scientific event and take the precautions necessary to protect themselves from the eclipse.

Nitish Mehta, an eye care specialist at NYU Langone Eye Center, says “staring at the solar eclipse without eye protection for just a few seconds, can cause solar retinopathy.”

Mehta further states that driving during the eclipse is a bad idea. The retina does not feel pain, meaning people can severely damage their eyes without knowing it is happening.

USA Today is reporting that driving during the eclipse is fine, as long as drivers follow a safe protocol.

“Anyone operating a vehicle should not be attempting to look up at the sky during the eclipse – their eyes should be on the road,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokeswoman from AAA.

For the majority of Blue Ridge students, driving is not an option and the total eclipse presents an opportunity for learning.

BR Principal of Curriculum Matthew Nebzydoski says: “We won’t have totality here, but will still have a great opportunity to see one of the wonders of the solar system.”

He recommends the following resources: “How to build a pin-hole viewer” https://fi.edu/en/exhibits-and-experiences/seasonal-events/eclipses/make-your-own-pinhole-camera-solar-viewing-device

and the NASA explanation of an eclipse for kids, an easy-to-understand video.

For more information about eye protection, visit:https://nyulangone.org/news/protect-your-eyes-while-watching-solar-eclipse-expert-advice-nyu-langones-dr-nitish-mehta

Read more on Blue Ridge’s meteorologist Alec Mazikewich: https://www.raiderreader.org/mr-mazikewich-the-weatherman/

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Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
Morgan is a second year journalism student and a Senior at Blue Ridge High School. His hobbies all involve sports, especially golf, volleyball and basketball. He has played for the Raiders for all three sports.
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