Local high school astronomy students catch the eclipse

MEDFORD, Ore. – This morning (10/14/2023), there were more than clouds casting a shade over the sun.

The annular eclipse created a ‘ring of fire’ of sorts in the sky.

At North Medford High School, Astronomy teacher, Robert black has rounded up volunteer students to observe the eclipse.

Black said, “this has been on my calendar for a couple of years, and we don’t have to travel for it.”

The annular eclipse is a rare event where the moon passes in front of the sun but isn’t close enough to earth to actually block it all the way out.

This results in a distinctive ‘ring’– a so-called ring of fire.

Black said, “I recruit them early, you take your best students, and you say, ‘who would like to film this annular eclipse? It’s on October 14th. It’s a Saturday.’ And I had seven of them sign up.”

They were taking photos through high- end telescopes they learned to use.

And though they were afraid that the skies would be too cloudy to catch the eclipse, volunteer student, James Hillard says they got lucky.

Hillard said, “we started training about two months ago, that was the first time I actually used the telescope and actually manned it. It was very fortunate that I got this opportunity to take these pictures.”

Staff like Dave Bloomsness also brought in other equipment like viewing glasses and more.

Bloomsness said, “I had a pair of binoculars with solar filters, we’ve got several scopes with white light filters and I’ve got one scope with a hydrogen- alpha filter; that shows the flares of the sun… So, we were imaging through that and viewing through that both.”

When the moon had passed over and the photos were taken, students like Isabella  Wohosky and Charlie Becksted told me about their passion for astronomy.

Isabella Wohosky said, “we’re the only school in Medford with a planetarium so I was like ‘I might as well take this opportunity while I can.’ And I just fell in love with the subject and now it’s a really big part of my life.”

Charlie Becksted said, “we all have the same sky, no matter where you are on Earth. You’ll see stars. It’s one thing that no matter what, really connects people.”

The next eclipse event is projected to happen in April of next year.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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