HB Prepares for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

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HB Prepares for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, something truly extraordinary is set to unfold above us. At 3:15 pm, day will turn into night for three magical minutes as we experience a Total Solar Eclipse. This phenomenon is truly once-in-a-lifetime. 

If you’re wondering, “Is this really a once-in-a-lifetime experience?” The answer is yes! It's astonishing to think that the last total solar eclipse over Cleveland occurred back in 1806, a staggering 70 years before Hathaway Brown first opened its doors. After next week, Cleveland will have to wait until the year 2444 for the next total solar eclipse to cast its shadow again. 

Let's delve into what exactly a total solar eclipse entails. We all remember from our elementary or middle school days the basics of how the moon revolves around the Earth while the Earth orbits the sun. This occurrence gives rise to the phases of the moon, with sunlight bouncing off the moon’s surface depending on its position in orbit.

During a new moon phase, the moon lies between the Earth and the sun, unable to reflect any sunlight onto our planet. So why isn’t every new moon a solar eclipse? It's all about cosmic alignment. The sun happens to be about 400 times larger than the moon, but it's also about 400 times farther away. This precise ratio creates the perfect fit for an eclipse, with the moon and sun appearing the same size in Earth's sky. However, the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle. This elliptical orbit means the moon doesn't always align perfectly with the sun. Sometimes, it appears too small to cover the sun completely, resulting in a ring of light also known as an annular eclipse  Additionally, the tilt of the moon's orbit means that its shadow usually falls either above or below Earth, making a total solar eclipse visible only along a specific path.

In addition to the excitement about being in the path of a total solar eclipse, HB is thrilled that three students in the Fellowships in Science Research & Engineering Program (SREP) have been selected to participate in a nationwide citizen science project. The team will be stationed at the Great Lakes Science Center, collecting valuable data via telescope. This data will contribute to a NASA study and even be featured in an upcoming IMAX film called "Einstein’s Incredible Universe," set to premiere in Fall 2026.

You can get involved too! Keep an eye out for opportunities to engage with this mesmerizing celestial event! Join us as we witness the wonder of the universe right here in our own backyard, but be careful! Looking at the sun during the eclipse is more dangerous than looking at the sun on a normal cloudless day which is why every HB student was given a pair of special glasses so they can safely view the eclipse. For more information on how to safely experience this cosmic wonder and fun facts visit https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1712244126/hathaway/jyp1ot6cuw94bq8myzig/SolarEclipseFacts.pdf or listen and watch this video of SREP director Janna Mino explaining more about the eclipse.


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