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Writer challenges Adair's appreciation of Solar Eclipse 2017

Letter offers good and not-so-good reviews of responses to Eclipse 2017: "I am very glad that the Adair County schools planned an educational day, as many districts declined to take advantage of this opportunity, so I commend the staff at the district for this. For Adair County in general, though, it was like being only a short drive from the Grand Canyon but skipping it because you've seen river valleys before..." - TW
Click on headline for complete letter

Theo Wellington
Viewpoints are personal opinions of the writer

Well, just now reading about how different school districts in Kentucky responded to the eclipse. Looking through this article [link at end of letter], it's a shame that no one seems to have clearly understood that:

(1) The eclipse from start to finish was 3 hours long, the Moon slowly moving across the face of the Sun.

(2) for Adair County, there was no "two minutes" of anything, as the county was only in partial eclipse. The Sun was never completely covered by the Moon. It just got slowly dimmer, noticeable only shortly before dimmest, and then brightening slowly....the "two minutes" figure was how long the Sun would be dark in the path of totality, and had nothing to do with the partial eclipse in Adair County.
You would never have been able to take off any solar viewers or glasses, whereas in totality you could look directly toward the Sun during the brief time it was completely covered.

(3) The difference between a partial eclipse: relatively common, often unremarked (do you remember October 23, 2014?), and a total eclipse is HUGE. In this case, 98 or even 99% is not at all the same thing. 1% of the Sun is still about 10,000 times as much light as in totality! A total solar eclipse is for most people a once in a lifetime experience. To stand in the shadow of the Moon and look with the unshielded eye at the corona shining out from behind the Moon is something pictures do not do any justice to.
I am very glad that the Adair County schools planned an educational day, as many districts declined to take advantage of this opportunity, so I commend the staff at the district for this.

For Adair County in general, though, it was like being only a short drive from the Grand Canyon but skipping it because you've seen river valleys before.

Hopefully some eyewitnesses who did travel to totality will get folks interested to travel to the edge of Kentucky to see the 2024 eclipse. (Adair County at 95% will still not be where you want to be.) Please take some time to understand eclipses as you write articles about them. Check with your local astronomers at WKU. Take advantage of the enormous amount of resources that NASA and others gathered to educate the public. It is actually easy and fun to observe the nearest star safely anytime, but to have access to a total solar eclipse is rare and special.

Theo Wellington Amateur astronomer / Goodlettsville TN
Outreach resource volunteer with the NASA Solar System Ambassador program - Theo Wellington Comments re article 92280 Eclipse preparations chats in Adair County
Thank you for your insightful letter, Theo Wellington, points are well taken. I am very proud of our Adair County Public School System's response to the event and how it was incorporated into the curriculum. As one who only chronicled the event and responses to it, your criticism and challenges are fair and accepted. -- Linda Waggener


This story was posted on 2017-12-01 12:07:10
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