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Interview with Mrs. Grzybowski

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Interview with Mrs. Grzybowski

Students and elderly alike gather to see the lunar eclipse in late January

Students and elderly alike gather to see the lunar eclipse in late January

| Mrs. G

Students and elderly alike gather to see the lunar eclipse in late January

| Mrs. G

| Mrs. G

Students and elderly alike gather to see the lunar eclipse in late January


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We were recently given the opportunity to interview AP biology and astronomy teacher Mrs. Grzybowski about not only her position here at Norman North but also her thoughts about the total lunar eclipse at the end of January.

 

Miller: What is your position at Norman North?

Mrs. G: “I am a science teacher and I currently teach AP biology and astronomy.”

Miller: How long have you been in charge of astronomy?

Mrs. G: “I started astronomy in the fall of 2004, and I’ve had it ever since.”

Miller: What recently happened with the eclipse?

Mrs. G: “On Sunday night, January 20th, the northern hemisphere experienced a total lunar eclipse of the sun. We had one last January, but it was early morning at the very end of January. These things happen every single month of the year, and what happened was we got totally in the earth’s shadow, and as the moon moves into the shadow it changes colors, and at first, is gradually covered up. Then it eventually is completely covered up, but because the light from the sun is filtered through the earth’s atmosphere, we see a red color, and [it gets] redder depending upon how much particulate matter is in the atmosphere. So if there’s a lot of gas and dust and volcanic ash, it’s even better.”

Students were amazed as the moon changed colors

| Mrs. G
Students were amazed as the moon changed colors

Miller: Was there a good turnout for your lunar event?

Mrs. G: “We had an excellent turnout. We had a watch party at the Sam Noble Museum Of Natural History. They allowed us graciously to rent the foyer and the bathroom, so people could come and go in the January cold. It was a cold night, but it wasn’t as cold as this morning. So we had about 350 people that we knew; the entire parking lot of the museum was filled. The ages [ranged] from little itty bitties who were in sleeping bags bundled up really tight and retired people who showed up just to see what it was. And the fun thing about it is that our kids were in charge of the telescopes. We were partnered with both high school astronomy classes, so they both brought out their telescopes. We had the odyssey astronomy club helping, and we also had the OKC astronomy club whose members here in Norman brought their scopes out and their equipment. So people who kind of trick or treat from scope to scope can get a view. But a lunar eclipse is something that you can see with a naked eye. It’s obvious you just get more detail [from a telescope]. In fact, there were amateur astronomers that noted an impact; we had an asteroid impact on the moon during the eclipse, and it was videotaped by people in other parts of the country. So there are lots of fun things going on all over the place, and we were part of it.”

Miller: What happened after the event? Was there anything special?

Mrs. G: “We, as I said, had telescopes set up, so people kind of trick or treated from scope to scope. And they show different views of the moon at different times of the eclipse. At first, the moon went into what they call the penumbra, which is the partial shadow, and then about an hour into it, it went into the complete shadow. And it started to change in a spectacular manner. So by the time we hit totality, it was like 10:42 [PM] and it stayed in that shadow and started to come out about 11:43 [PM]. So by that time, people were, you know, ready to go home. And so they had everything closed down by midnight at the museum. Oh, the other thing we did that was kind of fun is one of our Norman North astronomy club sponsors, Mr. Peter Core, brought our mountain cam equipment and he literally projected the moon onto the north wall and we had this huge moon, and people could see it, you know, during the penumbral phase, and also during the emerald phase and it was really cool. We had a lot of our students just standing and watching.”

The display of the moon on the walls of the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History

| Mrs. G
The display of the moon on the walls of the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History

Miller: Did the astronomy students discover anything new at the event?

Mrs. G: “I don’t think there’s anything new about a lunar eclipse. But I think it gave a lot of people a lot of enthusiasm. And I got to meet other people who share that kind of interest; you know, 350 people coming out, it’s pretty good. Especially since we didn’t do a lot of advertising.”

Miller: What did you take away from the event?

Mrs. G: “That we have a core group of very interested people here in Norman. In fact, the museum is exploring with us the possibility of possibly hosting some other community star parties, but at the museum, as I said to them, we have to figure out a way to turn the lights off safely. Otherwise, you can see the night sky with a lunar eclipse. It’s so big and bright that the lighting on the ground is not a problem. But when we want to do a star party, that’s a different story. You need darker conditions or a different phase of the moon for sure.”

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