School pauses to watch solar eclipse

The view from Prep, with appropriate protection.

(see more pictures on our Facebook page)

A solar eclipse is an amazing natural phenomenon in which the moon completely blocks out the sun for a portion of the earth.

On August 21, many parts of the planet, including most of North America, experienced at least a partial eclipse. Though the entire eclipse lasted a few hours, the peak of the solar eclipse only lasted a minute or so. Surprisingly, that is about average; the longest time period in which the moon is completely blocking the sun can only be about two minutes and forty seconds.

The Jackson experienced a blockage of about 85% of the sun at the peak of the eclipse. The path of “totality” in the United States ran diagonally from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast, and many people nationwide traveled to the narrow strip that would experience the total eclipse.

The solar eclipse seen today was the first eclipse visible in the continental US in thirty-eight years, and the glasses that students wore blocked out the enough of the light from the eclipse to enable them to watch it without hurting their eyes.

Jackson Prep did several things to prepare for the eclipse, beginning with procuring enough government-approved eclipse safety glasses for the entire student body, faculty, and staff. On Monday in directed study, we watched a safety and informational video hosted by longtime Prep science teacher Ms. Marti Sorey. At the end of fourth period, students got their glasses, and in fifth period, they went to watch the eclipse.

Junior high students enjoyed refreshments outdoors. Earlier, during the runup to the eclipse, the student council had handed out free Moon Pies and Capri Suns.

Before the eclipse, senior Wesley White was excited, saying, ““I am really excited to see it.” Sophomore Abigail Metcalf was a bit worried, saying, “I’m expecting people to burn their retinas.”Afterwards, though, she said that it was cool and worth seeing.

Senior Anne Clark Harvey joked that she was disappointed, saying, “It was nothing like End Times Girls Club had predicted.”

Anna Wise, a 2016 Prep graduate, was one of millions of people who made a journey into the path of totality. “It got really dark, and we saw weird moving shadows that looked like water on the ground,” said Wise from Nashville.

The next total solar eclipse near Jackson will occur on April 8, 2024.