By Josey Morris
Something big will be making its way to Indiana this upcoming year. On Monday, April 8, 2024, Muncie will be consumed in absolute darkness — during the middle of the afternoon.
A total solar eclipse is when the moon’s path passes between Earth and the sun, where it completely blocks the sunlight from reaching Earth. This phenomenon’s totality is only going to last for about three to four minutes.
Before totality, you are able to see the moon begin to “bite” into the sun. To safely view this, you will need to look through solar viewers. Solar viewers are special glasses that filter out eye damaging radiation from the sun’s rays. Once the moon has covered the sun completely, you can look at the eclipse with just the naked eye.
“Mainly, students should know that it’s not safe to look directly at it until totality,” biology teacher Mrs. Haley Hissong said. “Just make sure that if you’re at school or not at school that you stay safe so that you don’t hurt your eyes. Also, try to make sure that you are able to view this as a cool learning experience.”
In addition to the eye safety concerns of an eclipse, Mr. Greg Kile, superintendent, explained why the eclipse could affect our safety.
“My rudimentary understanding of what that day is going to look like is that the most dangerous and interesting parts of the eclipse are going to be right when we are about to transport kids home from school, and that obviously is not going to probably work,” he said.
Since the solar eclipse is such a widely enjoyed activity many people travel to the parts of the world where it will reach totality, and Muncie is a part of that path this next year.
Going along with the fact the totality is taking place around the time of school dismissal and all the people traveling, traffic is a hard topic right now with local emergency programs and the school board.
Therefore, our school day is going to be affected by the eclipse in some way. Mr. Kile says they are close to landing on a decision and will announce the decision around the middle of November.
Possible outcomes of the day will include either a half-day of school in the morning or an online school day.
Besides that, since this is such a rare event, it is important to experience an eclipse at least once in your life.
Muncie is only a small part of Indiana that is a part of the eclipse’s path of totality. The next time Muncie will be able to see something like this will be in too many years for us to be able to see.
Mrs. Hissong said, “This is something that doesn’t happen very often, so why not learn about what it is so that you can tell people you were able to experience it?”
Being able to see a solar eclipse can change someone’s life. Abby McElroy, a Ball State student that is currently a practicum teacher at Delta, was never really interested in eclipses until a few years ago when she traveled to an Illinois Girl Scout camp and watched the 2017 eclipse in its totality.
Since then McElroy has taken an interest in these events. She enjoys setting up her camera and capturing the essence of an eclipse. Just simply watching an eclipse happen can spark an interest you never knew was there.
There are many different ways for young students to enjoy watching and learning about eclipses.
For the partial solar eclipse in the year 2017 the school corporation bought class sets of solar viewers for the elementary students and the science classes at the middle school and high school.
Current technology director Dr. Lance Brand was a Delta High School science teacher at the time.
“It was pretty awesome to do an event that was corporation wide where we involved all the kids, and it was a new experience for pretty much everybody that was involved in the program,” he said.
Dr. Lance Brand says it is important for us to have a better connection with the world around us. So next year don’t take this event for granted and take time to learn and talk about it.