Syzygy Showcase

One of the most rare lineups between the moon, sun, and earth that gives a stellar showcase to Southern Illinois
Noah Pulley (11) and Cadence Schuyler (12) are ready to view the eclipse with their safety glasses on and their minds open to the wonderful spectacle they are witnessing.
Noah Pulley (11) and Cadence Schuyler (12) are ready to view the eclipse with their safety glasses on and their minds open to the wonderful spectacle they are witnessing.
Photography, Mads LaBotte

Four minutes of complete and total darkness are in the future of people within Southern Illinois. The solar eclipse is one of the rare spectacles that usually takes place once every hundred years. However, Southern Illinois has been exposed to two solar eclipses within the past seven years, a true marvel. 

A solar eclipse is classified as when the moon passes in front of the sun at a very specific angle where the sun appears to have disappeared; in reality, the moon is just covering the sun and creating the appearance of total darkness. 

Compared to the August 21 2017 eclipse, the eclipse on April 8 is said to have a larger path of totality and be viewable for a longer period. The viewing experience of scientists and citizens alike will be much more exciting than before. 

Ms. Lach said the main myth she sees with students is that “they think everyone can see the real eclipse, but it is only the people in the path of totality”. 

Speaking of the path of totality, the path is expected to be right in our hometown and several of the neighboring towns around Herrin including Carbondale. While many students may think this sight is viewable to everyone, no one outside the path of totality will view a total solar eclipse, only partial solar eclipses. 

Abby Beck (9) mentions how “people from all over the world come just to see this” and how having easy access to such an event makes her even more excited to experience it firsthand. 

With Herrin High School science teachers speaking about the eclipse and the previous experience of having one, students are even more interested in the phenomenon than ever before. Every grade level is exposed to a piece of scientific history that will forever be remembered, especially with it being in our hometown. 

Ella Holthaus (11) understands how rare this experience will be and asks “how it could not interest [her]” when such a once-in-a-lifetime experience is happening right in her hometown. 

It is, however, extremely important for each person to view the eclipse safely. One of the most important tasks to do before the eclipse is acquiring a pair of special eclipse glasses. The glasses have special solar filters that dim all wavelengths of light, so the wearer does not get eye damage from looking at the sun. 

Kady Clendenin (9) finds it important to warn people of such risks so they “can take the proper precautions and [prevent] blindness.”

Multiple different events are taking place across Southern Illinois including at SIU, so there are plenty of opportunities to truly enjoy the day of the eclipse especially with HHS having no school that day. 

As long as you keep your glasses on, you can keep your eyes on the skies on April 8 and witness one of the universe’s greatest phenomena.

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