Astronomy teacher talks eclipse projection, N.M.H.S welcomes NASA engineer

MEDFORD, Ore. – With the annular eclipse coming up this weekend, we caught up with North Medford High School’s astronomy teacher to learn a little bit more about it.

Robert Black, who is also the director of the only high school planetarium in Oregon, said there are three types of solar eclipses: total solar, which blocks the sun in its entirety, annular creates the ring of fire and partial a partial eclipse is when the moon just takes a bite out of the sun.

Black has seven telescopes and cameras ready for the eclipse on Saturday morning, but unfortunately, he isn’t sure if they will capture anything.

“I researched every long term forecast in every city in Oregon that had more than 200 people and nobody has clear skies forecasted,” Black said. “We are going to meet in the observatory at 7 O’clock in case it clears up. I don’t want to be heart broken yet. We’ve been lucky so far, but this may be our first big eclipse wash out during my career.

He said not to give up hope because it’s possible that the clouds disperse a little bit throughout the morning. But right now it looks like Utah, New Mexico and Texas might have the best luck when it comes to seeing it. The peak eclipse will occur at 9:21 am.

A full eclipse is happening next year, but we won’t see another annular eclipse again until 2045.

Also happening at North Medford this week, NASA aerospace engineer, Roberto Carlino, is speaking to students about what it’s like working at NASA Ames Research Center.

He is giving presentations about the four missions that he is working on with NASA right now.

He also hopes to show the human aspect of being a scientist and engineer, show the students that a career in this field is attainable and most importantly, he wants to get students excited about science and space.

“I know how easy it is for young people to get lost, to not know the way to get to their dreams or not even believe in their dreams,” Carlino said. “So, even having just one person to give a little push and encouragement, that makes me the most happy person in the world.”

Carlino will be giving a presentation at 7 pm Wednesday night that is open to the public. It will be at the North Medford High School planetarium.

He will be discussing why we explore space, the benefits space exploration brings to humanity and the Mars missions.

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Mollie Smith was our NBC5 News at Sunrise con-anchor through February 2024. Mollie is a Southern California native and graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a degree in Communication. Her passion for broadcasting started in high school as an anchor for her school newscast. While in college, she was a Broadcast Intern for the Athletics Department and a Sports Announcer. Her first job after graduation was announcing for the University of Washington and Seattle University. In 2021, Mollie moved to Southern Oregon to anchor and reporter for KTVL News10 until the news department was eliminated. In her free time, Mollie loves hiking and camping with her fiancé, Sean and her dog, Kysa. She’s a big sports fan and passionate supporter of the Los Angeles Angels. (Boo, Dodgers!)
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