An Alzar Eclipse
As instructors, we go to great lengths to bring experiential learning opportunities to our students. Sometimes, though, those opportunities drop right at your doorstep. Last week, we were lucky to find ourselves in the path of totality of the Great American Eclipse–the first total solar eclipse in the continental US in almost 40 years. Members of the University of Arizona Astronomy Department gave us the scientific perspective at a lecture in town the day before, and joined us at the Barn on campus with solar binocular and retrofitted telescopes to take in the event.
The moon began to make its appearance an hour before totality, as students hurried about to show off shadow bands through pin-pricked pieces of paper. Students observed that “the weather is shifting, the colors are changing, and the mountains are looking more saturated.” Totality hit at 11:26: “a moment of awe;” and “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” We are grateful to the University of Arizona for giving us a deep understanding of this special event, and even more thankful to the moon for gracing us with its presence. We should start with an eclipse every semester!