By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – The total solar eclipse has been one of the most promoted astronomical events so far in the 21st century. Students throughout the county had the opportunity to experience the rare occurrence of a total solar eclipse that could be witnessed in the United States.
Approximately 220 students at Rock Creek High School viewed the eclipse, according to science teacher Lyle Klement.
“We provided viewing glasses for all the students and just went outside and watched it,” Klement said. “Our other science teacher, Mr. Hardy, went more in-depth. They had an infrared sensor and his classes recorded some data.”
Klement said they hadn’t yet analyzed the data and that some of the cloud cover could have affected the experiment.
“It went off very well and the kids seemed to enjoy it,” Klement said. “It was a good experience.”
At Durant Intermediate School, science teacher Susan Hall said the fifth grade students there had a great afternoon.
“We took the kids who had signed permission slips to view the solar eclipse with our special viewing glasses, which were ISO approved,” Hall said. “They all had an opportunity to view it and we did a few activities with the shadows and they were amazed and thrilled with what they saw.
Hall said more than 200 students took part and also that she and some of the other teachers noticed something they didn’t expect.
“I noticed was that when the eclipse was occurring that the shadows started from the top down and as it was receding and hitting the end part of it, the shadow was going off to the left. It was quite different than what I had expected and what I had experienced as a child.”
The next total solar eclipse to be visible in the United States will happen in less than seven years, on Apr. 8, 2024. The path of totality should cross near or directly over Bryan County.
For those who bought special shades with which to view the eclipse, the next chance to use them won’t be too far into the future.