Johnson County students prepare for total solar eclipse - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Johnson County students prepare for total solar eclipse

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VIENNA -- Hundreds of Johnson County students had the chance to learn more about the impact of the upcoming total solar eclipse. Vienna High School hosted an assembly for the Johnson County Schools to help students prepare.

With less than 100 days to until southern Illinoisans and thousands more witness the eclipse, Johnson County students got a glimpse of what that special day will hold.

 "Not many people actually get to see this in the United States, and since we're one of few people that actually get to see it, the full effect, it's going to be amazing," says junior Andres Ruiz. 

The school invited University of Illinois Astronomy Professor Leslie Looney to get students ready for the event.

"If you get kids interested in astronomy, you can get them interested in just about science in general," explains Looney. 

"If we can educate 1,300 students in our county then that has a ripple effect. They are going to go home and they are going to tell their moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas about that, so that we kind of get that word out there ahead of time," says superintendent Joshua Stafford. 

Looney gave a quick lesson on the what, how and why of the eclipse, taking questions from many of the students after his presentation.

"It's a lot of fun to go and talk to schools, talk about science and get them interested in questions like aliens and UFOs and how the world's going to end. These are great questions," says Looney. 

Looney also warned about staring at the sun and told students, they can safely look at the eclipse as long as they wear proper eye wear. They even learned what changes they may see around them when as the skies turn dark in the middle of the day.

"Everything decides to shut off for a short time, Their internal clock just break and it's kind of cool seeing how everything just doesn't work with it, with the sun," says junior Bradley West. 

"People get to know more of how the moon and earth rotation works and it will help them learn more throughout science classes when they go through high school," adds Ruiz. 

Stafford says Vienna will not hold class the day of the eclipse, but will provide glasses for all the students to enjoy this rare occurrence with their families. He also says the week before the total solar eclipse, the school will hold another assembly for students to help them get ready.

The eclipse takes place, August 21st.

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