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Feb 26, 1998

Students observe celestial show

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From star-gazers to moon-watchers to sun-lovers, whatever their vocation, millions of people around the globe today had their eyes fixed on the heavens. As News Five’s Julietta Burrowes reports, the sun, moon and earth converged to put off an awesome celestial show that was free for all who could look up.

Julietta Burrowes

No, I am not trying to make a fashion statement… I am just trying to catch a glimpse of the eclipse.

If you didn’t know, then just by watching these students one can tell that something is happening up above. It is a spectacle that occurs about every 18 months, but even so, only certain regions of the world can actually see it. It is called a total solar eclipse.

Philip Gallatty, Belize Elementary School

“The moon is coming over the sun and here in Belize it will be blocking it partially. And so, we won’t be in total darkness, we will just be a bit dark here.”

Sarifa Waight, St. Joseph’s School

“A solar eclipse is when the moon comes between the sun and the earth and it covers. The moon covers the light of the sun and sometimes the sun, the rays from the sun can be very dangerous to the eye.”

Scientists say that the best place to view the eclipse is in the Caribbean and this one happens to be the very last that will be visible from the western hemisphere this millennium. To be able to see it, one must be positioned in what is known as a path of totality, that is, when the sun and the moon are in total alignment.

William Neal, Teacher, Belize Elementary School

“Now what you have which is called an umbra, and this is the direct shadow given off by this body that will fall on the earth. And if you’re in this area, and if you notice it is very small. Then you’ll have a total eclipse. If you’re in the perumba which is represented by the red, then you’ll have a partial eclipse.”

And that is exactly what we saw here today. Although the total eclipse lasted for just over four minutes, from about eleven this morning, primary school students have been bringing out gadgets of all sort and variety, just to get a peak of this phenomena.

William Neal

“We’re trying to discourage the children from looking directly at the sun. there are ways to look at it, like using a smoke glass, even the negatives from film, that works well.”

Analie May, St. Joseph’s School

“Just about a couple weeks back we did what is called a pinhole camera. Actually it limits the amount of light entering and actually, if you look inside there’s a wax paper in there and serves as a screen; so light entering, shines on the screen and they see actually an inverted image.”

While some of the methods used to see the eclipse proved more effective than others, at least it was cost free considering the thousands of dollars spent by foreign observers who traveled to the Caribbean just to get a view of the spectacle. Julietta Burrowes for News Five.

If you missed today’s total solar eclipse, you shouldn’t have to wait around for very long. The next one that will be visible from the Western Hemisphere will occur in the year two thousand and seventeen.

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