Solar Eclipse at Romain-Rolland-School

March 20, 2015








One of my first thoughts as my alarm clock goes off and I lift myself out of my bed, deals with an event that has been discussed and planned for several weeks in my additional Physics course. Something unique and rare is going to happen today. Something so unique, that I will even be allowed to bunk off my Biology lesson and half of my English lesson to watch it: the Solar Eclipse which can be viewed not only in Berlin, not only in Germany, but in almost half of the European countries. So I am VERY excited, particularly because of the fact that this is the very first eclipse for me to observe. As there will be a lot of preparation and special equipment required for the observation, I won’t have Biology today and, instead, will be spending time outside and enjoy the beautifully warm and sunny spring weather today. Sunny spring weather? Oh, yes, we are actually very lucky today. Especially our Physics teacher was really concerned about the weather forecast provided on Wednesday, our last lesson before the eclipse, which predicted cloudy skies – not the best conditions for the use of our brand-new solarscope. But on my way to school I am assuaged as I see the bright blue sky. I actually have not seen such a beautiful sky for a long time: it looks like a freshly washed tablecloth that somebody laid on top of Berlin. Clean, no clouds, no fog, just sunshine and a few white tracks left by several airplanes. At the moment the sun is still shining as it usually does, but boy, this will change after the next two Geography lessons. 90 minutes pass like 90 seconds after which I will join the guys from my additional Physics course to build up our observation zone. During the break all the other students will have the opportunity to watch the eclipse with the help of our instruments. Which instruments? Apart from the solarscope, which is a special telescope for sun observations, a special box shaped projector that shows an enlarged projection of the sun, and a set of super-fancy-looking sunglasses which are so dark that you can look through them in the direction of the sun without setting your eyes on fire. And so it begins. The moon starts to cover the sun at approximately 10 a.m. The eclipse reaches its climax right as the long break starts. Hundreds of junior and senior RoRo students come to watch this spectacular event and I am right in the middle of this crowd. Now the moon covers 80% of the sun and I can feel something strange: obviously it is getting colder and I notice that the sunrays shining on my face do not feel as warm as they usually do. Although the sunlight still seems to be really bright and intensive it almost feels cold on my skin, which is a feeling I have never experienced before. The break passes quickly, the students start to leave, and so does the moon. It starts to leave the sun and reveals its native, well-known, round shape. The schoolyard is empty again as I start wrapping up all our equipment together with my fellows.

For now, that was my eclipse experience. That Friday was very exciting for me and I bet I am not the only one. The next eclipse visible from Germany will be on August 12, 2026 and I am sure I will not miss out on that one either.

(Igor Zaytsev)

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