Naperville North students get lesson in eclipses

  • Charles Fulco, left, a NASA solar system ambassador, has Naperville North senior Robbie Plank demonstrate how an eclipse shadow falls on the earth in astronomy class on Thursday.

      Charles Fulco, left, a NASA solar system ambassador, has Naperville North senior Robbie Plank demonstrate how an eclipse shadow falls on the earth in astronomy class on Thursday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 5/4/2017 5:49 PM

It's rare you get a chance to see a total eclipse of the sun, and when the next one comes along in August, Charles Fulco doesn't want you to miss it.

The science teacher from Massachusetts has been traveling the nation since 2015 on grants from NASA and American Astronomical Society to educate students and others about this summer's total solar eclipse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He will be in downstate Carbondale on Aug. 21 to witness the event with other "umbraphiles." In the suburbs, coverage is expected to be about 90 percent.

He was at Naperville North High School on Thursday working and talking with students to increase awareness about eclipses and to encourage teens and others to go outside when the time comes.

The best way to remember an eclipse, he says, is to see it live.

"I think if kids remain indoors due to fear or misinformation, it's a shame," he said. "I saw my first eclipse at age 8 and it gave me a love of science and made me want to be a teacher."

He observed that first near-total eclipse in his hometown of Port Chester, New York, in 1970.

Since then, he has traveled to such far off places as Salzburg in Austria, Shanghai and the Patagonia region of Argentina to view total eclipses.

His day at Naperville North included a stint as a guest teacher and an evening discussion in the student lounge.

Fulco is encouraging everyone he encounters to make the trip to Southern Illinois University's "Eclipse Weekend," where they'll "witness the most awesome sight they'll ever see -- the moon completely covering the sun for more than two minutes, and all the dramatic phenomena that go along with it."

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