And you’re sorry that the ephemeral beauty has faded so rapidly, so irretrievably, that it flashed so deceptively and pointlessly before your eyes—you’re sorry, for you didn’t even have time to fall in love…
On Monday, August 21, 2017, people in North America will have the chance to see an eclipse of the Sun. Anyone within the path of totality may see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse.
Along this path, the Moon will completely cover the Sun, revealing the Sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona. The path of totality will stretch from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse, where the Moon covers part of the Sun’s disk. Remember: you can never look at the Sun directly, and an eclipse is no exception – be sure to use a solar filter or indirect viewing method to watch partial phases of the eclipse.
Total solar eclipses are a rare chance to study the Sun and Earth in unique ways. During the total eclipse, scientists can observe the faintest regions of the Sun, as well as study the Sun’s effects on Earth’s upper atmosphere. We’ve been using eclipses to learn more about our solar system for more than 50 years. Let’s take a look back at five notable eclipses of the past five decades.
May 30, 1965
A total eclipse crossed the Pacific Ocean on May 30, 1965, starting near the northern tip of New Zealand and ending in Peru. Totality – when the Moon blocks all of the Sun’s face – lasted for 5 minutes and 15 seconds at peak, making this the 3rd-longest solar eclipse totality in the 20th century. Mexico and parts of the Southwestern United States saw a partial solar eclipse, meaning the Moon only blocked part of the Sun. We sent scientists to the path of totality, stationing researchers on South Pacific islands to study the response of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere to the eclipse.
Additionally, our high-flying jets, scientific balloons, and sounding rockets – suborbital research rockets that fly and collect data for only a few minutes – recorded data in different parts of the atmosphere. A Convair 990 research jet chased the Moon’s shadow as it crossed Earth’s surface, extending totality up to more than nine minutes, and giving scientists aboard more time to collect data. A NASA-funded team of researchers will use the same tactic with two jets to extend totality to more than 7 minutes on Aug. 21, 2017, up from the 2 minutes and 40 seconds observable on the ground.
March 7, 1970
The total solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, was visible in North America and the northwestern part of South America, with totality stretching to 3 minutes and 28 seconds at maximum. This was the first time a total eclipse in the United States passed over a permanent rocket launch facility – NASA’s Wallops Station (now Wallops Flight Facility) on the coast of Virginia. This eclipse offered scientists from NASA, four universities and seven other research organizations a unique way to conduct meteorology, ionospheric and solar physics experiments using 32 sounding rockets.
Also during this eclipse, the Space Electric Propulsion Test, or SERT, mission temporarily shut down because of the lack of sunlight. The experimental spacecraft was unable to restart for two days.
July 10, 1972
Two years later, North America saw another total solar eclipse. This time, totality lasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds at the longest. A pair of scientists from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, traveled to the Canadian tundra to study the eclipse – specifically, a phenomenon called shadow bands. These are among the most ephemeral phenomena that observers see during the few minutes before and after a total solar eclipse. They appear as a multitude of faint rapidly moving bands that can be seen against a white background, such as a large piece of paper on the ground.
While the details of what causes the bands are not completely understood, the simplest explanation is that they arise from atmospheric turbulence. When light rays pass through eddies in the atmosphere, they are refracted, creating shadow bands.
February 26, 1979
The last total solar eclipse of the 20th century in the contiguous United States was in early 1979. Totality lasted for a maximum of 2 minutes 49 seconds, and the total eclipse was visible on a narrow path stretching from the Pacific Northwest to Greenland. Agencies from Canada and the United States – including NASA – joined forces to build a sounding rocket program to study the atmosphere and ionosphere during the eclipse by observing particles on the edge of space as the Sun’s radiation was suddenly blocked.
July 31, 1981
The USSR got a great view of the Moon passing in front of the Sun in the summer of 1981, with totality lasting just over 2 minutes at maximum. Our scientists partnered with Hawaiian and British researchers to study the Sun’s atmosphere – specifically, a relatively thin region called the chromosphere, which is sandwiched between the Sun’s visible surface and the corona – using an infrared telescope aboard the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. The chromosphere appears as the red rim of the solar disk during a total solar eclipse, whereas the corona has no discernible color to the naked eye.
Watch an Eclipse: August 21, 2017
On August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States from coast to coast for the first time in 99 years, and you can watch.
You can also tune into nasa.gov/eclipselive throughout the day on Aug. 21 to see the eclipse like you’ve never seen it before – including a NASA TV show, views from our spacecraft, aircraft, and more than 50 high-altitude balloons.
Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers, almost always referring to those of the cherry. This delicate flowers were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral.
Parce que ya des gens qui s'en vont, d'autre qui restent, ou qui reviennent dans notre vie.
Parce que des fois c'est moi qui m'en vais, qui revient puis qui regrette d'être restée ou partie.
Parce que le monde est inconstant, éphémère et indécis.
i’ve seen a lot of these posts but none of them really aligned with my experience. so here it is, how to survive freshman year from one of many sophomores in this community. please take everything here with a grain of salt.
before school starts:
you will not need nearly as many notebooks as you think you do. please, save yourself the time and money and hold off on buying them until you know how many you need.
try not to get stuck in the school’s mindset of what classes you need. for example, most freshmen in my school (on a trimester system) take Bio 1, Chem 1, then Chem 2. i took all of those classes, but i really didn’t need to take bio 1 because i’m planning to complete my bio credits with AP Bio (and also bio is one of my stronger subjects). chem 1 and 2 are the only prerequisites for AP Bio, so what i should have done was drop Bio 1 and take a fine arts class instead to fill up those requirements. tl;dr: play to your strengths and don’t listen to the school when they tell you something is “highly recommended”.
if you’re doing a sport, please know when you have to turn in paperwork to play. don’t miss the deadline or put off your physical.
when school starts:
try not to pack too much in your backpack on the first day. paper, writing utensils, a jacket, water (reusable bottles will save your life), your lunch/money, and your student id!!! (very important) should cut it.
take a picture of your schedule on your phone. if you get a map mark where your classes are and take a pic of that too. chances are that flimsy piece of paper dictating your entire day will get torn, crumpled or lost. i’ve seen people say it looks horribly freshman-like if you carry around your schedule all day, if that’s a thing you worry about.
if you get a class you don’t like (that’s not a required class), switch out of it asap. don’t try and suffer through it for the credits. it will suck.
it’s not a big deal if you need to drop or raise a level. do what’s best for your gpa. don’t feel horribly inferior if there are freshmen taking 2 APs when you’re taking none (like me) because they probably took classes over the summer. they’re not geniuses, i promise.
PLEASE, try not to carry too much stuff in your backpack. at my school we don’t have lockers and my shoulders suffered because i thought i could bring a 1L bottle, three reading books, my thick jacket, and two large pencil case along with all my school stuff.
YOUR SCHOOL ID IS YOUR LIFELINE. try your best not to lose it, and if you do, replace it as soon as possible.
if you have the extra money, buying two sets of pe clothes is incredibly helpful. trust me on this.
don’t stress too much, it’s really not as bad as it seems.
once school is well underway:
don’t freak out if you do badly on a test. one of my friends got a d on her midterm and ended up having an a in the class. you’ll have time to pull it up.
at the same time, don’t slack either. people say freshman grades aren’t that important, especially if you show improvement in later years, but don’t let your grades go to the dogs. freshman year is the time to build good habits, and colleges really like to see unweighted 4.0s (or so i’ve heard)
be nice to your teachers. even if they’re demon spawn. my friend had a much nicer time than i did with our hellish english teacher simply because she talked to her a lot while i barely spoke at all. if your teachers like you they might be more willing to round your grade up or give you extra credit work.
do your best to always be prepared and have your stuff with you. it’s not fun having to ask around for stuff.
join some clubs. it helps with meeting new people and finding things you love. if they have competitions, it doesn’t look bad on your resume if you win any.
if your school offers the PSAT to freshmen, take it. it’s a good way to look at where you are versus where you want to be come junior year when you’re eligible for the NMSQT.
volunteer! get those hours in when you still have time. weekends are great if you aren’t too busy then.
try to have the phone number of at least one person in each of your classes. group chats are also great, because people aren’t online all the time and you can ask a bunch of people for help all at once. don’t let them distract you, though. a lot of my group chats like to wander off topic and talk about other things.
homework is gonna take a lot longer than it did in middle school. utilize the time you have effectively and do what it takes to make sure you’re ready to get to work. for example, one of my friends would always nap right after school for a few hours, and then do her homework later. i usually grab a snack and go on my phone for a few minutes to revitalize.
if you have time during school, try doing your homework then. you’ll still be in the school mindset and people will be around for you to ask for help.
try not to stay up past midnight. you really won’t need to, and you’ll be glad for the extra sleep. if you have to choose between finishing a small math assignment or going to sleep early for a test tomorrow, take the hit for the assignment and get some sleep.
people and relationships:
dating in freshman year tends to be quite ephemeral. if you don’t, good for you. no one will judge you. if you do, good for you. don’t prioritize it though, and be prepared for your friends to constantly tease you about it.
don’t date people older than you, especially seniors. i know this has been said a thousand times, but for good reason. please. do not.
making friends with people in higher grades is always a good thing, though! in my experience, juniors love freshmen and are probably the easiest to make friends with. they’re really good if you need some advice and you don’t have to worry about them leaving next year. seniors will honestly not care about you unless you see them often. sophomores have a reputation of bullying freshmen (at least in my school), but a lot of them are nice and will be in some of your classes.
for me, high school actually had more drama than middle school. don’t be afraid to drop friends and don’t be worried if you lose any; you’ll make better ones later.
a lot of the kids in my middle school went to a different high school, so i was basically starting from Ground Zero regarding friends. don’t be too concerned if you don’t click with people right away; i found most of my current friends during the second and third trimesters.
bring a charger or a power bank to school if you know you’re gonna need it. you’ll be able to charge your phone during class (if your teacher is ok with it) and if you ask around for one chances are you won’t get it.
bring snacks. most teachers are pretty chill about you snacking during class, and it’s better to have your own stuff than mooch off your friends.
the rules are more flexible. you can use your phone in class depending on the teacher, they even let you listen to music while they’re teaching if you have earbuds.
go to the dances if you want. i didn’t go to any because i’m lazy and also i like to spend my money on other things, but a lot of my friends consider it an important part of the high school experience. football games can be fun too, even if you don’t like football (like me). there’ll be band and cheer and dance if you’re into that, and you can also hang out with your friends (the ones from the school your school is playing too!) and eat really unhealthy snacks. same with pep rallies, except no food.
if your school has a newsletter or weekly news videos, pay attention to them. they usually have important information on where new clubs are meeting, spirit weeks, deadlines, events, etc.
everyone is really spirited the first month or so and then after that they don’t care. follow their lead.
talk to your teachers if you need help. they’ll do their best to work something out for you.
there’s gonna be that one person who thinks the world revolves around them and gets on your nerves. chances are everyone else hates them too. be nice to them, but don’t hang around them.
you’re not alone. everyone else is just as worried as you. have fun, and don’t sweat it.