Eclipse and Star Count

From: (Charles F. Lindgren)
Subject: Eclipse and Star Count
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 20:39:11 +0100

At sunset there were high thin clouds. When the moon rose so that it could
be seen, our kids looked at it through a veil of thin clouds. All 8th
graders and any 6th or seventh grader could do a star count at about 8:30
pm. The results were low because of cloud cover and brightness 110 kids saw
100 stars or less, 85 saw 200 or less, 30 saw 300 or less, 34 saw 400 or
less, then there were a group of "great pretenders" who saw very large
numbers of stars when the full moon was visible through the clouds.

At totality 40 kids saw 100 or less, 45 saw 200 or less, 32 saw 300 or
less, 34 saw 400 or less, 20 saw 500 or less, 24 saw 600 or less, and a
sprinkling saw "many more." Once again the "great pretenders" saw
thousands! Viewing conditions at totality were much better. There were
broken clouds and huge patches of clear sky.

Eclipse classification saw 13 saying the eclipse was black or almost
invisible, 39 said it was gray, 104 said it was dark red, 82 said it was
bright red, and 34 said it was brilliant orange.

This was a huge success in my coastal town! Comments about what the eclipse
looked like, and what the ocean looked like during the various stages of
the eclipse were great. During my class discussions, our toughest
conclusion was deciding what the color was. Assoreted comments on what the
color of totality resembled: a photograph of a retina (substitute teacher);
orange sherbert; a broken red marble.

Many students mentioned that they saw the top of the moon as being a
different color from the rest. This was great!

My own personal favorite part was when totality ended and the first light
returned. Just as this whisper of light appeared on the upper right side,
the moon actually appeared to be 3 dimensional! You could actually see the
Moon as a sphere instead of a flat object.

Most comical event: During my "spirited" fifth period class, the teacher
across the hall started waving at me through my door. I left my class and
went to see what was wrong. One of his students had videotaped the eclipse.
She went out every ten minutes and taped for a brief period of time. I
asked if I could bring my class in to "see the eclipse." He said ok, so I
brought my kids over. The moon jerked and jumped on the monitor getting
darker at irregular times. Just before totality the screen went black. The
other teacher asked what had gone wrong. The kid said "nothing, it was a
school night and I had to go to bed."  Ahhhhhh!

I burned up two rolls of slide film. I should get the results back
tomorrow. I shot it with a great 500mm lens on Ektachrome slide film (200
and 400).

It's been real!

By the way Discovery Channel Sunday night 9:00pm EDT "Is there Life on Mars?"