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Eclipse enthusiasts


Chris Collins/Baker City Herald Rosemary Clausel, right, and her classmate Sofia Kaaen can hardly contain their enthusiasm for an art project centered around this summer’s solar eclipse during a recent Friday Academy class at South Baker Intermediate School.

Rosemary Clausel says she was somewhat interested when her mother asked if she’d like to enroll in a Friday Academy class focused on the August solar eclipse.

“Then I heard about the T-shirt design and I said ‘heck yeah!’ ”

The 10-year-old Clausel is a fourth-grader at Haines Elementary School. She was joined at the Friday Academy session titled “Total Eclipse of the HeART” by four more Haines students and four from South Baker Intermediate School. (For those unfamiliar with ’80s pop music, the class title was taken from Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit song— with the emphasis on the heart rather than the ART.)

Most of the students agreed that the art aspect of the session especially drew them to the lesson taught by fifth-grade teacher Erin Callahan and sixth-grade teacher Mandie Rose.

Three of the Haines students came from Corrie Borgardus’ fourth-grade class.

“Fourth grade is the art class of the school,” said Jordan Smith, 12, who is a sixth-grader at Haines.

But the students said they also enjoyed learning more about the solar eclipse.

“I’m crazy about the solar eclipse ... and I like to draw,” said Sofia Kaaen, 9, another of the Haines fourth-graders.

Mckennah Gentili, 10, a South Baker fourth-grader, used what she learned about the “diamond ring effect” of the solar eclipse in her T-shirt design.

Gentili placed what appears to be a large diamond ring in the center of the design. It represents the time just before and just after the sun is totally covered by the moon. That’s when what looks similar to the gem on a ring shines during certain phases of the total eclipse and a thin band of light shines around the perimeter of the sun.

That happens as the sun enters into total darkness and when it begins to move out of the path of the moon to resume its sunshiny glow.

The South Baker teachers first taught the group about how the moon will move in front of the sun to turn daylight into darkness for a few minutes the morning of Aug. 21. Baker City is among the Oregon communities that will experience total darkness along the path of totality.

Total darkness will start at 10:24 a.m. on Aug. 21 in Baker City and last for about 1 minute and 35 seconds. The period of totality will last longer in the southern Baker County areas of Huntington and Unity. It will be shorter — dropping to about 41 seconds at Haines — to the north.

Callahan and Rose also cautioned students about the need to protect their eyes during the eclipse and distributed eclipse viewers to the students. And they read from the book “The Big Eclipse” by Baker City author and illustrator Nancy Coffelt. She had hoped to join Friday’s four-hour class but was unable to make it, the teachers said.

Coffelt’s book, which contains an eclipse viewer and a workbook about the eclipse, is available at Betty’s Books. The bookstore along with the offices of Dr. James Davis and Baker Vision Clinic, the Baker County Library and the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, also have or will soon have eclipse-viewing glasses for sale.

Once the classroom demonstrations, reading and discussions were complete, students were asked to call on their creativity for the next stage of the class.

See more in the May 24, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.