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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Eclipse Throws Shade on North Warren

The Moon encroaches the Sun as seen from Blairstown. Photo by Joe Phalon.

The Sun at it most-covered stage during the eclipse. Photo by Joe Phalon.

Students with an interest in things celestial got a pre-shadow briefing in the school’s media center, also known as the library, with Steve Straub, North Warren Regional School District’s honors science teacher and in-house Galileo, who explained the fundamentals. Particularly the part about never, ever looking directly at the Sun without proper eye protection.

Science was put to use in early human existence, Straub explained. Early Chinese and Mayan astronomers had developed methods to predict eclipses as far back as 10 centuries.

While some civilizations lived in fear of the darkening sky and hid in caves or gave up human sacrifices, societies that employed logic and mathematics grew to understand that a solar eclipse was the result of the Moon moving in front of the Sun and casting its shadow on Earth, not a dragon eating the Sun.

Even today, many people attach deep meanings to eclipses, some religious, others introspective, and still others, like the star-gazing students in North Warren, see the eclipse as an opportunity to escape a classroom and observe a rare phenomenon.

Of course, with the proper eye protection, which Alyssa Eisner, North Warren’s gifted and talented advisor, made sure was distributed to each and every observer, including your faithful narrator.

The clouds that gathered as the Sun slid behind the Moon did not completely obscure the eclipse over Blairstown. In fact, it actually made for slightly more comfortable viewing, with the thin cloud cover offering an added filter to the view.

Roosters could even be heard to crow in the middle of the day. Straub had explained that not only humans act a little strange during an eclipse.

Leading scientists tell us animals can act in peculiar ways during an eclipse. Photo by Joe Phalon.
Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.