NASA scientists talk about eclipse with Madras students

'Eclipse Week' at Jefferson County Middle School

Scientists visit Jefferson County...

MADRAS, Ore. - It's Eclipse Week at Jefferson County 509-J schools. and experts on the celestial occurrence have descended upon the county.

The experts are scientists from NASA, the Lowell Observatory and OMSI who are in town to teach students about the total solar eclipse that will take place on Aug. 21.

And everyone has their own reason for being excited about watching the eclipse, including kids.

"I'm excited to wear those cool-looking glasses. I don't want to burn my eyes," one eighth-grader said Monday.

Another student is looking forward to the science behind it, saying, "When you can see the tendrils of gasses coming off the sides of the sun, it really did look very pretty."

On Monday, students at Jefferson County Middle School got the opportunity to hear firsthand from NASA scientists what they'll actually see when the eclipse crosses Central Oregon, as well as what it takes to be a scientist.

"I'm really interested in space and planets," eighth-grader Carter Dunton said. "Maybe as an astronaut. Not as an astronomer, because you get to go into space as an astronaut."

When the scientists decided to watch the eclipse from Madras, they knew they wanted to get involved with the kids, NASA scientist William Dean Pesnell said.

"You have a great place. You walk out on Aug. 21, look over at the sun, and you're going to see an eclipse, so we would like them to expect it," he said. "We would also like them to be able to watch it safely."

"The other thing is to remind people that being a scientist is OK, and that when you're a scientist, you get to travel around, talk with people, go to cool places," he added.

Adults who care about the eclipse are making sure the kids of the community remember it. 

Principal Simon White is hopeful the kids get excited about the eclipse.

"It's a pretty neat scientific event, that the epicenter is Madras in Central Oregon," he said. "So (we're) giving our kids some background on it, so when the day does come, they can enjoy it."

At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the scientists will be holding an event at the Warm Springs Academy.

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, there will be another presentation at the Madras Performing Arts Center.

To see all of NewsChannel 21's eclipse coverage, including interactive maps, visit our Eclipse 2017 page.

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