While most of the campus was dealing with the first day of classes, the Kentucky Education Association- Student Program at EKU took a field trip to view the solar eclipse in its totality at a sister institution, Hopkinsville Community College.
The 32 participating future teachers learned about the Earth, Moon and Sun, and how the three bodies interact with each other in space and time. They also observed the effects of the eclipse on insects, light, shadows and the sky.
The trip was planned and organized by Dr. Dorie Combs, a professor (RTP) and KEA-SP faculty sponsor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, along with KEA-SP President and elementary education major Brook Bell. Additional faculty who served as drivers and “co-pilots” included Dr. Melinda Wilder, professor of science education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. Mark Pitts, lecturer, astronomy; Dr. Martin Brock, professor, chemistry; Dr. Twyla Harris, assistant professor, math education, curriculum and instruction; and Dr. Eileen Shanahan, assistant professor, English/language arts education, Curriculum and Instruction. Pitts brought along a telescope with a solar filter to provide everyone with a closer look. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction (science education) provided NASA-approved solar glasses to ensure everyone’s eye safety. Family members and spouses of faculty joined the group and provided Moon Pies, Sun Drops and additional assistance.
“The group was able to view the process as the moon’s shadow gradually moved into its perfectly aligned position over the sun,” Combs said. “First, we noticed the katydids chirping, thinking it was dusk. Many observed the sharpness of their own shadows and the colors of sunset across the horizon. Then we saw the diamond ring before the shadow completely covered the sun, leaving only the corona encircling a black disc. At that point we were able to remove the safety glasses and, for 2 minutes and 41 seconds, looked directly at the sun and the deep, dark blue sky. We saw Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Dr. Brock noted that, during the eclipse, the temperature dropped approximately 12 degrees. Everyone agreed that those few minutes passed way too quickly. We were reminded that the universe is far more powerful than any one of us, any group of us, or even our species. Because of our knowledge of science – physics, astronomy, geology, and biology — we knew what to expect and exactly when to expect it.”
Students making the trip were: Bethany Aslinger, Kourtney Belcher, Brook Bell, Alexandra Bolling, Kendra Bond, Cheyanne Brown, Elly Campbell, Adam Coleman, Laura Dahlenburg, Brie Davis, Jessie Ferguson, Mitchell Golden, Shelby Hesler, Ashley Hunt, Evelyn Kerns, Kellan Jones, Whitney Lawhorn, Christina McCarty, Alaina Mills, Taylor Miniard, Tyler Nix, Kiera McEvoy, Cameron Sellers, Ben Slusher, Travis Rose, Maryssa Stewart, Janna Slone, Amber Sumner, Haley Summers, Brittani Thompson, Hayden Westfall and Alissa Young.