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June 01, 1984 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1984-06-01

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, June 1, 1984 - Page 7

Eclipse is
when seen
from top
of Angell
Wednesday morning it looked as if the
clouds were going to eclipse the eclipse,
but the rain and cloud cover cleared up
just as the spectacular, rare eclipse
began. For one group of students on the
Diag during the eclipse, it was classes
and life as usual, but there was quite a
different atmosphere above them on
the fifth floor of Angell Hall.
About 75 people ventured to the top of
Angell Hall where the University's
Lowbrow Astronomers, an amateur
astronomy cluh, sponsored a safe and
sophisticated eclipse-watch.
SCIENTISTS warned that directly
looking at the eclipse could cause eye
damage, but many people managed to
view it in varous indirect ways. The
National Society to Prevent Blindness
recommended watching it on
television or reflecting an image of the
event through a pinhole in a piece of
cardboard, and both methods were
widely used.
Other people glanced into water pud-
dles and glasses of water, or used
binoculars to shine the image onto
paper. Still others risked permanent
damage to their eyes by looking direc-
tly at the sun through exposed pieces of
film and sunglasses.
The president of the Lowbrows, Peter
Challis, a junior in the astronomy
program, manned the ten-inch refrac-
tor telescope atop Angell Hall. It was
used to reflect a bright, clear image of
the sun onto a screen which showed the
9 moon as a semi-circular, dark shadow
progressively covering it.
AT 11:45, THE sun looked like a sugar
cookie with a bite taken out of it. Clouds
showed up as rapidly-moving shadows,
but by noon they had disappeared. Sun-
spots were plainly visible. Challis ex-

Peter Challis, s junior astronomy student, watches the eclipse in the observatory atop Angell Hall.

plained that the sunspots were "regions
in the sun with intense magnetic ac-
tivity which causes the surface to
become cooler...and thus appears
black due to this temperature differen-
The eclipse conveniently occurred
during the lunch hour, and quite a
diverse group flocked to Angell Hall to
enjoy it. One excited couple sipped
champagne from a crystal goblet.
Some parents brought their children,
and many like Katie from Burns Park
Elementary School, picnicked under
the observatory dome. Robbie, an eight
year-old aspiring astronomer from
Clonlara School, calmly observed the
eclipse and talked with Challis about
the telescope.
Many University students showed up
between classes and were surprised to
discover the telescope and observatory
on the top of Angell Hall. One recent
biology graduate, Jamie Topper, was
particularly impressed. "Pretty wild. .
. This is interesting for me, since I
majored in other sciences, to be ex-
posed to something new."
BY 12:20, MANY people had noticed
that the light was becoming dimmer,

but they didn't understand why an
eclipse was considered to be more
dangerous than full sunshine.
Challis explained that the eye has
protective reflexes which make it un-
comfortable to stare at the sun on a
normal day. "The pupil contracts, the
eye moves uncontrollably, tears form,
and rapid blinking occurs."
When the visible light is decreased
during an eclipse, the eye is tricked into
staying dilated while the damaging
ultra-violet and infrared radiation still
reaches the Earth. This radiation per-
manently "burns" the retina of the eye,
and people are unaware of damage
being done because the retina feels no
pain, Challis said.
Incidences of blindness have been
reported after previous eclipses, even
though many of the victims heard the
warnings, but local hospitals had no

reports of any such injuries yesterday.
ON THE DIAG, it looked like an
average Spring afternoon. People
eating lunch on the benches and a circle
of hackysack shufflers made it seem
like it was just a normal day.
Most of the people on the Diag were
aware of the eclipse but some were not
impressed. Adam, a senior, called it
"anti-climactic," and Rachel, a junior
sitting next to him, thought it was
"over-built ... like New Year's Eve."
However, Gary, a senior in Com-
munications, said that it was "in-
teresting; dangerous, yes, but not for
intelligent people."
At 12:40, although over 70 percent of
the sun was covered and the sky was a
slightly strange blue-gray color, the
day seemed fairly bright. Jim, a senior
who was soaking up what sun was left,
See ECLIPSE, Page 16

Judge rejects legislative
redistricting plan

PONTIAC, (UPI) - An Oakland
County judge yesterday threw out a
controversial 1983 legislative redistric-
ting plan, casting doubt on where this
year's state House elections will be run.
Judge George LaPlata said the plan
is unconstitutional because the bill
passed by the Legislature was radically
changed from its original form.
THE DECISION could have far
reaching implications for the
legislative process if it is upheld on ap-
peal. Its immediate impact is to
require that 1984 House elections be
held in old districts, not the new ones.
The reapportionment lawsuit was
filed by five residents of Oakland Coun-
ty. It is supported, however, by many
members of the House Republican
Lansing attorney David McKeague, a
lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he was
pleased with LaPlata's decision.

"WE FULLY believe the legal prin-
ciple applies to many other cases...far
beyond apportionment," McKeague
Gov. James Blanchard has asked the
Michigan Supreme Court to review the
question, citing the danger of electoral
chaos and confusion.
A special primary is scheduled for
the 21st District June 5. That date also
is the filing deadline for the regular
House elections.
SENATORS ARE not up for election
this year.
A spokesman said the Supreme Court
is considering Blanchard's request but
has not yet acted on it.
The current redistricting plan was
,rammed through the Legislature late
last year when Democrats still con-
trolled both houses. Many Republicans
believe the plan favors the Democrats.

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