March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Get Ready for October’s Two Eclipses

Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

by Robert Victor

There are two eclipses in October 2014. First is a total lunar eclipse in the predawn hours of Wednesday, October 8. (Set your alarm when you turn in for the night on October 7.) Owing to the unfortunate timing of this lunar eclipse during early predawn hours, the event might not be widely seen by elementary school students. (A brief total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015, centered on 5:00 a.m. PDT, may be somewhat more convenient to observe. The lunar eclipse on the evening of September 27, 2015 will be just about perfect for public viewing in California, with the Moon in partially eclipse as it rises around sunset; in total eclipse during 7:11-8:23 p.m. PDT; and out of the umbra by 9:27 p.m.)

Here are the times for the various stages of the October 8, 2014 lunar eclipse for the Pacific Time Zone. Moon’s position in the sky is given for Palm Springs, CA.

Stage of eclipse       Time                 Moon’s Azimuth Altitude

Moon enters umbra   2:15 a.m. PDT                  227°         52°

Total eclipse begins   3:25 a.m. PDT                   245°         41°

Deepest eclipse         3:55 a.m. PDT                   251°         35°

Total eclipse ends     4:24 a.m. PDT                   256°       29°

Moon leaves umbra   5:34 a.m. PDT                 267°       16°

During totality in Palm Springs, CA, Uranus (mag. 5.7) should be visible in binoculars nearly 1.0° to the left or lower left of the center of the eclipsed Moon. A medium to high power telescope reveals the planet’s disk, 3.7 arcseconds across.

October’s second eclipse is a partial solar event in the afternoon on Thursday, October 23.

I recommend that teachers order quantities of solar eclipse viewers for students soon, instead of waiting until fall, when supplies might run out. Hand-held eclipse viewers and eclipse glasses to be worn like regular eyeglasses are available from Rainbow Symphony. Both styles are identically priced and employ the same filter materials. The minimum quantity for those items is 25 count, at 85 cents each. There is a discount for quantity orders. For more information, and to order, go to and click on eclipse shades.

The viewers can be recycled for future eclipses! In the next 10 years there will be three more solar eclipses visible from California:

2017 Aug. 21 (total in narrow track across U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina)

2023 Oct. 14 (annular in track across Oregon, NE corner of California, Nevada, Utah, Four Corners, New Mexico, Texas, Central America, to Brazil)

2024 Apr. 8 (total in wide track across Mexico, Texas to Maine, Maritime Provinces of Canada, Newfoundland)

These filters can also be used to check for sunspots. Very large ones would be visible through the filter.

The times of the eclipse stages depends on your location. In California, the Oct. 23 solar eclipse gets underway with first contact of the Moon’s disk at the edge of the solar disk occurring just after 1:40 p.m. PDT in the northwest corner of the state, to 2:19 p.m. in the southeast corner. Deepest eclipse occurs at 3:06 p.m. in the northwest corner, to 3:36 p.m. in the southeast. Last contact, marking the end of the eclipse, occurs at 4:25 p.m. in the northwest corner of California, to 4:44 p.m. in the southeast.

In Palm Springs, the eclipse begins at 2:12 p.m. PDT, as the Moon’s disk makes first contact with the upper right edge of the Sun’s disk. Greatest eclipse for Palm Springs occurs at 3:31 p.m. PDT, as the Moon’s disk covers the upper right portion of the Sun’s disk, the Moon covering 45 percent of the solar diameter, or 33 percent of the disk area. From Palm Springs, the eclipse ends at 4:41 p.m. PDT, as the Moon’s disk makes last contact with the upper left edge of the solar disk.

During the eclipse in Palm Springs, the Sun will be sinking through the southwestern sky, at an altitude ranging from 38° at the start of the event, to 15° at the end.

Here are further details about the Oct. 23 eclipse for Palm Springs.

First contact: 2:12.1 p.m. PDT, Moon first appears at upper right edge of Sun’s disk, 66 degrees clockwise from the top of the disk, near the “2 o’clock” position. Sun’s position in sky: Azimuth 213 degrees, altitude 38 degrees.

Greatest eclipse: 3:31.1 p.m. PDT, Moon’s disk covers 45 percent of diameter of Sun’s disk, or 33 percent of its area. The upper right portion of the Sun will be covered, centered at the point 25 degrees clockwise from the top of the disk, near the “1 o’clock” edge, leaving the 7 o’clock side most exposed. Position in sky: Azimuth 232 degrees, altitude 28 degrees.

Last contact: 4:41.5 p.m. PDT, Moon leaves the Sun at upper left edge of solar disk, 22 degrees counterclockwise from the top of the disk, roughly near the “11 o’clock” position. Position in sky: Azimuth 244 degrees, altitude 15 degrees.

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.

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California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017


CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

Learning to Teach in 3D

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Joseph Calmer

Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”

I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: