Flower

An Educational Solar Eclipse Road Trip

On August 21, 2017, people across the United States witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. Juliana Rorbeck, one of our ProQuest editors, traveled to Nashville, TN–the largest city along the path of totality–to observe the spectacular Great American Solar Eclipse firsthand.

Eclipse or Bust

When I first heard about a solar eclipse that would be visible from Oregon to South Carolina, I knew it would absolutely be worth seeing in person. After researching various cities along the path of totality–wherever the moon completely blocks out the sun–I chose Nashville. My fiancé and I decided to make a road trip of it.

A Shortage of Glasses

Seven days before the eclipse, most stores were already sold out of solar eclipse glasses. Certain online retailers were even caught selling fake pairs of glasses. With all of the information swirling around about how staring at the sun, even briefly, can cause permanent eye damage, this caused a bit of panic, especially in South Florida. After calling up four stores and going to five locations, we ended up finding our solar eclipse glasses at a 7-Eleven. Talk about a close call. Even though glasses are not necessary to view totality, the before-and-after views are equally spectacular and incredible. We were ready.

Hitting the Road

On Friday, Aug. 18th we rented a car and drove from Boca Raton, FL, to St. Augustine. Over the course of the weekend, we explored Savannah, walked through small towns in Georgia such as Waynesboro, spent the night in Athens, and drove around the Blue Ridge Mountains. In Blairsville, GA, I found a painted rock commemorating the eclipse.

Painted rock found in Blairsville, GA. (Credit: Juliana Rorbeck)

Eclipse rock. (Credit: Juliana Rorbeck)

For entertainment, I brought along some eclipse reading material and we prepared ourselves to look for certain phenomena such as the Baily’s beads effect. This happens when sunlight streams through the valleys and craters of the moon and the last brilliant blast of light creates the illusion of a massive diamond ring hovering in the sky.

The night before the eclipse we took in the sights around downtown Nashville. People had poured in from all over the country to celebrate. Since we had booked a flight home that departed soon after the eclipse ended, we realized that the Nashville International Airport would make for a fine eclipse viewing location.

The Eclipse

ProQuest editor Juliana Rorbeck awaits the eclipse with family in Nashville on Aug. 21, 2017. (Credit: Juliana Rorbeck)

On Monday afternoon we congregated outside one of the terminals with dozens of fellow travelers. I spoke with people who had traveled from as far as Maine and Puerto Rico to watch the event.

Then the sunlight grew dim. A minute before totality, just before 1:27 in the afternoon, there was an amazing shimmering effect that could be seen all over the ground. Suddenly everything looked as though we were underwater. People gasped and pointed. The air grew less hot, even cool, the midday summer heat gone within seconds. We saw a great diamond–Baily’s beads–and then the thinnest silver ring. The sun had vanished behind the moon. Completely.

People gather in front of the Nashville International Airport to record the Great American Eclipse during totality on August 21, 2017. (Credit: Juliana Rorbeck)

People took out their phones to try to record the moment. A few folks captured it on their cameras, but most people simply looked around in amazement. Some even cried. The best way I can describe it is by saying it was a 360-degree sunset. Dusk everywhere you looked. It was strange enough to spend so much time intently focusing on the brightest point in the sky, only for it to be plunged into darkness.

The edge of the sun peeked out from behind the moon. Before I could wrap my mind around what I’d seen, it was over.

From the Boca Raton Office

While Boca Raton did not fall under the path of totality for this eclipse, ProQuest editors got to see a partial eclipse at 2:57 pm.

This is an unfiltered photo taken by a cell phone camera of the partial eclipse. Notice the lens reflection on the bottom right.

(Credit: Jennifer Oms)

Shadows from leaves created hundreds of crescent shapes along the ground.

(Credit: Kimberly Carpenter)

Editor Jennifer Oms used a paper plate with a pinhole in the middle and a piece of paper on the ground to see the partial eclipse.

ProQuest Editor Jennifer Oms created a pinhole viewer to observe the partial eclipse. (Credit: Jennifer Oms)

Still Curious about the 2024 Eclipse or Other Space Sciences?

Check out SIRS Issues Researcher to learn more about space exploration.

Space Exploration & Travel Leading Issue in SIRS Issues Researcher

Community Outreach Through New Eyes

Juliana Rorbeck,
ProQuest Content Editor

The newest content editor in the Boca Raton, FL, office shares her experience volunteering throughout her first year on the team.

In November 2015, I took a leap of faith and joined ProQuest. I was thrilled not only to fulfill my dream of becoming an editor but to find a company whose values spoke to me. One such value is Community–the realization that we are “citizens of the world” who must “understand our responsibility within it.”

This particular idea of Community appealed to me. An Orlando native, I knew that I had to leave my childhood home (of 25 years, no less) to make both a new living and a new life–all by myself. A couple of weeks after my initial interview, I packed up some bare necessities and my best business casual clothes, hopped on the Florida Turnpike, and wondered exactly how different life could be three hours south.

2016-2017 Volunteer Activities at the ProQuest Boca Raton, FL, Office

Here was a company who offered employees the use of 16 hours a year to be spent serving the community. This past year, I learned exactly how much good 16 hours can achieve.

At the Boca Raton office, I joined a highly skilled group of individuals whose passion for serving the community reflects in all that they do, both in the office and within the greater Palm Beach County area.

The ProQuest team made visits to the Palm Beach County Food Bank, where we sorted and boxed canned goods for distribution to families in hunger. We stuffed school supplies into brand new, brightly-colored backpacks for the annual Community Back to School Bash (BASH), and had a blast going through the piles of pencils, scissors, notebooks, etc. I especially loved going to Lake Worth to visit Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, where we made care packages for soldiers fighting abroad. During the winter season, we even signed holiday cards for the troops. As someone with friends and family in the military, I cherished the chance to let our troops know I appreciate their sacrifice.

These outings have provided wonderful opportunities to work closely with my team. ProQuest has allowed me to meet the diverse people who make our community great and to support outreach centers in person. My fellow editors inspire me to get involved in various causes. I love that our company encourages us to serve others, to see the fruits of our labor take shape as a force for positive change in the world.

It is more rewarding than I could have imagined.

We are a close team, and I am proud to call Boca Raton my new home.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to…Celebrate the Movie

J.K. Rowling Research Topic in ProQuest eLibrary

J.K. Rowling wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2001 while simultaneously writing the main Harry Potter series of novels. Devoted Potter fans will note that “Fantastic Beasts” actually makes an appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as the name of one of Harry’s required textbooks. Following the success of the Harry Potter movie franchise, Rowling makes her screenwriting debut in the prequel by the same name.

Eddie Redmayne

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Set in the 1920s, this adventure follows wizard Newt Scamander as he arrives in New York for a brief stay and No-Maj (American Muggle) Jacob Kowalski who accidentally lets some of Newt’s beasts escape from a briefcase. The ensuing endangerment takes place decades before Harry Potter steps foot into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Go experience your favorite characters come to life on the big screen starting Friday (November 18), or stop by your library or bookstore and pick up a copy of the book.

Newt Scamander

Photo credit: natalie419 via Foter.com / CC BY

We have compiled five ways that Muggles, Witches and Wizards alike can prepare for viewing what is bound to be pure magic!

1. Attend a Library Event

Check your local library or bookstore’s website and see if they are hosting any Potter-themed events. Here are some events we found:

Kent District Library

Lawrence Public Library

East Lansing Public Library


2. Create Your Own Butterbeer Recipe

After experimenting with a few different ingredients, this is the recipe we came up with:

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 bottle cream soda (chilled)

Allow ice cream to soften. Blend softened butter, sugar, and spices in a bowl. Add to ice cream and freeze. Fill each glass with a scoop of ice cream mixture and pour cream soda over it. Enjoy!

ingredients

Butterbeer Ingredients – Minus the softened butter, which we had already melted in bowl behind the cream soda [Photo courtesy of Kimberly Carpenter]

butterbeer

Chilled Butterbeer [Photo courtesy of Kimberly Carpenter]

editors

Editors Kimberly and Juliana [Photo courtesy of Kimberly Carpenter]

 


3. Create Wizard Crafts

Create your very own magic with these crafts:

DIY Harry Potter Wands

DIY Wizard Suitcase

DIY Mirror of Erised


4. Design Your Own Fantastic Beast

Design your own Fantastic Beast by using SIRS Discoverer Animal Facts to research fascinating animals. Combine the physical description, behavior, and habitat of different animals to create your own creature. Create a drawing of your Fantastic Beast.


5. Museum Discoveries

Explore interactive events, programs, or see the movie in IMAX:

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian

 

We’ll see you at the movie!

Five Reasons Why Teachers Can Benefit from Adult Coloring Books

School is out, the papers have been graded and you’re now home and settled on the couch, ready to enjoy some Netflix — why not color?

If you think coloring is just for your students — think again.

Adult coloring books come in all shapes and sizes, with an endless parade of amusing themes. Want to shade in neon pirates in a water world? Done. What about psychedelic flower gardens complete with fairies and unicorns? These books have got you covered. Kaleidoscopic space scenes to draw your eye; dizzying schools of rainbow fish; funky dinosaurs with a twist; striking mandalas and paisley prints — all of these and more.

It’s deviously simple: pick a design, grab a colored pencil, and let your imagination do the rest. If you’re not feeling creative, that’s fine — you can still fulfill your desire to create, even as you binge through that one season of House of Cards. No flashing lights, no advertisements, no deadlines, and no stress will stand in the way of you and your turquoise, tie-dye mermaid masterpiece. Give yourself a gold star.

Can’t find the yellow pencil? Who doesn’t like blue? Accidentally draw outside the lines? Look at that marvelous new piece of abstract art.

And you certainly wouldn’t be alone. In fact, plenty of people have popularized coloring books for adults, as confirmed on Amazon’s Best Sellers book list. The trending hobby began in 2015 and has only gathered steam. Since then, coloring books have become available via e-books, digital apps, as well as online.

So grab your adult coloring book, adult pencils and your favorite adult beverage … your inner child is waiting.

Here are five ways that adult coloring books can be helpful for teachers:

1. Therapeutic

Coloring alleviates stress, reduces anxiety and increases self-esteem. Focusing on pleasantly-colored designs can also boost your overall mood. Pairs nicely with a glass of wine.

2. Enhance Creativity

When you color, you condition your brain to slowly tune out other distractions. When you finish, you can use your designs as decorations. Frame your prints and hang them in your classroom. Get your students inspired.

3. The Child Within

Escape your daily classroom routine and revisit the nostalgia of your childhood art class. This is something you can do at any age. We won’t tell if you color the dog purple.

4. Tech Detox

No eye strain here. If you’ve been staring at your computer screen more than usual, give your eyes a break with a good old-fashioned paper book. Get yourself in full Zen mode and fill in some mandalas.

5. Socialize

Haven’t seen your adult friends in a while? Host a coloring session of your own with friends. Feeling adventurous? Check your local public library for classes.


**Update**

The editors at the ProQuest Boca Raton office were inspired to show off their creative side.

color1

color2

You can download this ProQuest coloring page using the link below.

http://media2.proquest.com/documents/proquest-ala-coloring-page.pdf

 

World’s Oldest Library Restored

After four years of renovations (totaling $30 million US dollars), the al-Qarawiyyin library in Fez, Morocco has reopened. For the first time in its history, however, it is now open to the general public.

The library is part of the al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859 and is the world’s oldest continually operating university. In the 9th century, a wealthy Muslim woman from Tunisia named Fatima al-Fihriya provided funding for the construction of a mosque, which later expanded into a university. Her diploma, a wooden board, can still be seen today.

Aziza Chaouni, a Canadian-Moroccan architect, oversaw the site’s renovation, which boasts restored fountains, colorful mosaics, and refurbished texts. The library restoration included a new gutter system, solar panels and digital locks to protect the rare books room. Air conditioning was also installed to control the humidity.

 

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

For 1,157 years, the library could only be accessed by theologians and academics. Today, visitors from around the globe can flock to see the oldest library in all its glory.