North Atlanta Prepares for the Total Solar Eclipse


Jack Stenger

Students safely view the solar eclipse with designated glasses

It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s a total solar eclipse! Get ready Warriors because Aug. 21 will be the first time in decades that this celestial sight will be visible from Georgia. A little bit fuzzy on what, exactly, a solar eclipse is? Not to fear. Here’s the technical near-galactic low down.

This particular strand of eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit puts it directly between the Sun and the Earth. Because of this solar system maneuverings, the moon blocks the Sun’s light, causing momentary darkness on Earth.

It has been years since this type of eclipse has been visible in Georgia. And the event is causing quite a stir, even among North Atlanta students. “Usually this kind of thing happens out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s going to be in the middle of Atlanta and I am really excited for it,” said sophomore Fiona Liu.

        Even though this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is going to take place during the school day, Atlanta Public Schools has arranged for all schools to watch the eclipse. And to endure that none of its student charges do something inconvenient like go blind during any eclipse watching, the district APS has ordered special eclipse-watching glasses for students to wear during the event. Although it may seem harmless to view the eclipse directly, especially since the moon is blocking the Sun, it can actually cause permanent damage to your eyes. IB science teacher Marie Killory said that the darkness the eclipse casts is actually dangerous. The darkness prevents someone’s eyes from functioning correctly and lulls someone into believing it’s safe to look at the sun. And when the pupil’s natural defenses are overridden, someone’s eyes are helpless and blindness can follow.  

        In order to have students in elementary, middle, and high school watch the eclipse, APS has extended the school day of the event by a half hour. However, most students don’t mind the extra school time. “It’s great that we’re doing this,” said senior Karla Lopez. “I mean, this is a once in a lifetime event. I don’t think I’ll be around the next time this happens.”  

Even though Atlanta Public Schools started planning for this event months in advance, the actual eclipse will only be visible from Atlanta for a few minutes. However, over the span of Aug. 21, the eclipse will be the first one in nearly a century to cross through all 50 states.

Whether you’re ready or not, the total solar eclipse is on its way. “It’s just going to last for three minutes, but it’s going to be the coolest thing ever,” sophomore Hasian Tisdale said.

Clearly, Warriors are over-the-moon – and in between the sun – about the coming solar eclipse.