School students excited for stellar event

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cassville to see 93.4 percent covering of sun on Monday

The region has been abuzz in recent weeks as the first total solar eclipse viewable on the U.S. mainland since 1979 will pass over the country on Monday.

In Cassville, the stellar event will begin at 11:43 a.m. and continue for 2 hours and 57 minutes.

At 1:12 p.m., the peak time of the eclipse in Monett, 93.4 percent of the sun will be covered.

While community events do not seem to have been organized, the Cassville school district is excited to incorporate the stellar event into its curriculum.

Elementary an intermediate school students will watch the eclipse from inside via an internet stream. With a signed permission slip, middle and high school students will get to wear eclipse glasses and go outside to watch the event from 12:50-1:20 p.m. High school students will be in the south lawn, sixth graders will be in the middle school courtyard and the seventh and eighth graders will be at Wildcat Stadium.

Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent, said the eclipse will liven up the science classes at every campus.

"This brings our science curriculum alive," LeCompte said. "It's something different that the kids can see an feel, which helps them know what we are teaching them about how the Earth and astronomy works is real.

"It just makes it a little more real and will brighten up what we do with our science time. We also embed science into our reading programs, and this is an opportunity to introduce that a bit more and get science going."

LeCompte said she had her own eclipse experience while attending Cassville schools.

"I saw the eclipse in 1972 out in front of Eunice Thomas Elementary," she said. "We din't know as much about it back then, so we looked through the bottoms of glass bottles and with pinhole viewers. Now, the kids are al talking about it an the teachers are excited, some of them even wearing eclipse T-shirts."

For those just stepping outside to take a look at the eclipse, there are a number of things one can do to remain safe and enjoy the experience. The following are tips from the American Astronomical Society:

• Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.

• Always supervise children using solar filters.

• If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

• Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.

• Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.

• Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.

• Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.

• If you are inside the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.

• Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.

• If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than three minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than three years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015.

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