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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Rare total solar eclipse to be viewable for John Carroll Students

Wikimedia Commons
Total solar eclipse

John Carroll students, along with residents of various US States, will have the rare opportunity to view a total solar eclipse on Apr. 8 this year. This breathtaking event occurs when the moon passes in between the earth and sun, completely covering the sun.  

This opportunity will be the first time Ohioans can view a total solar eclipse since 1806 and the next total solar eclipse that will be viewable in Cleveland will occur in 2444, according to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Eclipses are nothing new – the oldest recorded solar eclipse took place on Nov. 30, 3340 BCE, with records being found on ancient rock carvings in Ireland. Christian texts also reference an event matching the description of an eclipse happening after Jesus was crucified, saying that the moon turned to blood which is speculated to have been a lunar eclipse. Eclipses are also integral to Albert Einstein’s rise to fame. When an eclipse occurred on May 29, 1919, Einstein’s theory of general relativity was proven.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the viewer is in the inner layer of the moon’s shadow, the umbra. So as the earth rotates, a small section of America will be covered by the umbra. The reason a total solar eclipse is so exciting for Cleveland is because it is rarely in the umbra. The shape of eclipses are due to the sun and the moon lining up so perfectly. While the sun is much larger than the moon, the moon is much closer to the earth and the sun is much farther away. 

Before the science behind eclipses was known, ancient cultures believed that these events were omens or a sign that the god(s) were angered. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the word eclipse originates from the Greek word ékleipsis, which means to be forsaken from its custom place, because the Greeks thought that the sun was abandoning them. 

There are two types of eclipse, solar and lunar, with the difference being which celestial body is obscured. During lunar eclipses, which are much more common, the moon is covered by the earth’s shadow. There are a few different subcategories of lunar eclipses. For a total lunar eclipse, this results in a red or orange tint over the whole celestial body. In a partial lunar eclipse, only part of the shadow covers the face of the moon. Finally, the moon can just appear slightly dimmer because it is only in the lighter shadow of the earth, which is a penumbral eclipse.

For solar eclipses, there are three different types, with the most common being the partial solar eclipse. This occurs when only part of the sun is covered by the moon and only a small portion of the sun is covered. The next most common type is the annular solar eclipse, where the moon is at the farthest point in its orbit around the earth and closest to the sun, resulting in a wide ring of the sun being visible from behind the moon. Finally, the most rare variety, taking place on Apr.8, is a total solar eclipse, where the moon completely covers the sun. When the sun is mostly obscured by the moon, the eclipse reaches it totality. During totality, which will last from 3:13 p.m. to 3:17 p.m. for Ohioans, the sky will darken and only the outer atmosphere of the Sun will be visible. 

While the sun will be dimmer during the eclipse, serious eye damage can still occur if proper precautions are not taken. In order to safely experience this event, the Ohio Government recommends wearing solar eclipse glasses during most if not all of the eclipse. The glasses can be removed once the moon completely blocks the surface of the sun, but before or after totality, direct viewing without the protective glasses can cause permanent vision damage. 

Solar eclipse glasses are not just dark sunglasses, they include a special solar filter that protects your eyes from the sun’s rays. The government also warns not to look at the eclipse through a camera or a telescope because that is even more dangerous for your vision.

This is a great opportunity for JCU students to come together to witness this once-in-a-lifetime moment. Because the eclipse will occur on Apr. 8, students could view the eclipse from wherever they want on campus outdoors, so the main quad will likely be a hotspot during that time.

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