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From the head

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On April 8th, 2024, the "Great American Eclipse" crossed the USA on a path from Texas through Maine.  Hyde’s campus here in Bath, ME, was lucky enough to fall within 97% of the totality.  That means that 97% of the sun would be covered by the moon.  While 97% is already spectacular, some Hyde students and faculty made a trip to experience the zone of totality.

Benji ‘24 and Barry ‘24 gave a presentation to the community in our Monday morning meeting, giving the students some background information about solar eclipses, including the rarity with which they are visible from land and why it was special that Maine was in a position to view one. They generated excitement in the student body for that afternoon's eclipse.

Over 50 students signed up to take the two-and-a-half-hour trip to Bingham, ME, approximately 100 miles directly north of Bath along the Kennebec River. Bingham fell within the zone of totality and allowed the students to witness over a minute and a half of total eclipse.

Faculty member Jack Massellink said, "The minutes leading up to the complete occultation of our sun grew darker and darker and moved through varying shades of dusk, many of which had an otherworldly quality.  When the final rays of light that left our sun more than eight minutes prior to reaching our eyes were blocked by the moon, it was as if it was a dark night lit by a starry sky.  The temperature dropped, and the normally boisterous students fell quiet, as did the hundreds around us."

The rest of the faculty and the student body gathered on the turf field to view the 97% totality in Bath, all commenting on the eerie and magical qualities of the light. Many held their viewing glasses up to their phones to memorialize the event with pictures of the configurations of the moon and sun at different phases of the event. 

It is an overwhelming experience witnessing a total solar eclipse. Those who made the trip up north will have a lifetime memory they will not soon forget!

Much thanks go to Hyde alum, Nelson Arnstein '71 for supporting our eclipse viewing. Nelson, a physician in California, provided safety glasses for our community--something that continues a tradition he began many years ago when he visited campus and taught a session about the 1994 event. 

Great stuff as we head into the final stretch of the spring term at Hyde School!

Laura D. Gauld '76

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