By Megan Saari
What better way to start a school year than with the Great American Eclipse on the first day? Sadly, we were unable to see the eclipse because it’s Benicia, and so naturally the sky was overcast. Though the rest of the world got to see it, along what scientists were calling the path of totality, people came from across the country to better see the eclipse and even see some stars while the eclipse took place. For those in the bay that could travel to the path of totality people made crowds in San Francisco that of people on their brake that would just sit and watch the eclipse with their special glasses. For a short hour, people across the world stopped what they were doing and watched a once-in-a-life opportunity.
The eclipse wasn’t just for peaceful gathering, it was also for scientific experiments. Colleges and NASA used altitude balloons to study the sun and the energy it gives. “When the moon blocks out the sun during a total eclipse, those regions of Earth that are in the direct path of totality become dark as night for almost three minutes,” said Steve Clarke, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA. “This will be one of the best-observed eclipses to date, and we plan to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn as much as we can about the sun and its effects on Earth.” One of the experiments that NASA did was studying the sun’s atmosphere or corona, they did this by using a coronagraph – which uses a disk to block out the light of the sun – to create an artificial eclipse.
For those who missed the eclipse, the next Great American Eclipse will be in 2024. Though hopefully next time more people will head the warning about the glasses. Not looking at the eclipse with the special glasses can permanently damage eyes and can cause blindness. There have been cases where people’s retinas have had prolonged damage. Even with all the many warnings naturally people looked and they now have severe vision problems. Maybe by 2024 people will actually heed the warnings about losing their eyesight.