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Mr. Sespico Photographs The 2017 Eclipse

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Mr. Sespico spent a good deal of time this summer photographing and breaking down the Eclipse.  We sat down with him to answer some questions that readers may have.

What causes an eclipse to occur?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between Earth and the sun at just the right angle and at just the right distance, on its way around the earth. A total solar eclipse is when every inch of the sun’s disk is covered by the moon’s shape along this orbital path. Those who witnessed a total solar eclipse saw one for up to 3 minutes on a path somewhere along a 70 mile wide stretch that reached between Oregon and Georgia. The partial eclipse lasted for well over an hour and was visible to most everyone in the United States–that is, everyone with a pair of eclipse glasses.

Why do you think so many people were excited about the eclipse?  

In my lifetime, total solar eclipses have happened every couple of years on a continent on the other side of the planet or somewhere in the the middle of an ocean. People were so excited about this eclipse because it was the first chance to see a total eclipse in the continental US since 1979 and because its path of totality reached as far as it did. Anyone willing to drive for 9 hours could view a total eclipse if they wanted to see one. 

There were stories about animals acting differently during the eclipse.  Was this true? and Why?

The only thing I witnessed were some confused crickets. Up until the total eclipse, a cacophony of bug noise pervaded the forested landscape where I viewed the event. I didn’t notice the noise until it was gone. For a couple of minutes, just before the total eclipse started, the insects chirped as though they weren’t quite sure what to do next. They sounded off and back on again for the next several minutes until the sunlight slowly made its way back out, unobstructed. Afterward they carried on as if nothing happened at all.

Is there anything educational from this eclipse that you plan on brining back to your classroom?

In my 18 years of teaching, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about what it would be like to see a total eclipse. I’ve created lessons and conjured up enthusiasm for something I’d hoped to one day see. To finally be able to speak about one with firsthand experience will give the lesson authenticity that it couldn’t have had, otherwise. Where I viewed the event, I was able to connect my camera directly onto one of the two telescopes I brought with me. I was able to capture some spectacular photos that I’ll embed into several different slideshows that I show throughout the year. 

Where did you view the eclipse?

A couple of months before the event, I contacted a tiny, rural church in Gallatin Tennessee which is about 30 minutes outside of Nashville. My sons and I camped directly on the church property and set up tents right next to Civil War Era gravestones the night before. 

Enjoy the slideshow of pictures below!

 

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Mr. Sespico Photographs The 2017 Eclipse