Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Today gave new meaning to "Shields Up!" for us. Yes, we [my husband and I] spent the afternoon out in the backyard. Summertime is a great time to read and relax in the back yard. It is so important for teachers to recharge and refresh during our summer vacation. But part of me wished I was in school with kids. Thanks to friends that into Science I knew way in advance that the Solar Eclipse was expected. I knew to order solar shields that stated ISO 12312-2:2015. I knew that NASA was only recommending certain companies as legitimate manufacturers. I read that a good test for the glasses was to look at a light bulb. If you saw nothing, they were closer to right. If they worked like sunglasses they were wrong. Okay mine passed that test. But would they really let us see the sun and/or moon?

As we gathered in the backyard with IR thermometer, camera phones, and solar shields in hand we felt ready. I however, was not ready for the dexterity needed to place the solar shield over my phone, hold the phone, snap the picture ... all while looking at the ground. Why? Because I know I will need my eyesight more than I would need the photograph. I was not taking chances. When the glasses were not protecting my eyes, I was not looking at the beautiful bright ball of light in the sky. But while taking photographs in this manner, I did manage to capture this image (along with a bunch of grey shots where the solar shields weren't pressed firmly enough to my phone). The only digital editing that was done to this image was to crop the photo down a bit so that you can better see the tiny crescent of sun in the photo.

For the most part, watching the event LIVE through solar shields was better than trying to capture the moment. This was a great reminded that not everything needs to be digital. Perhaps there is beauty in the simplicity of enjoying the Science and nature at hand. I am grateful to be enjoying the moment at home, with my husband today. But as an educator part of me is wishing that I had students with me to explore the STEAM involved. Why did the infrared thermometer's display drop so very drastically? Would a pinhole box provided a better view? Would there have been something I could have done better to keep my glasses more flush with my phone's camera lens? I would have loved to listen to student questions and suggestions. But there will be another chance in April 2024.

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