Why impact of eclipse will last far longer than few minutes moon moved in front of sun

You have to figure, somewhere in someplace, someone who still has their holiday lights up — and set to a dusk timer — may have had them come on Monday afternoon during the eclipse.

Aside from that Lowe’s-induced project, there wasn’t a whole lot of actual science that went on during the brief moments of the total solar eclipse.

That being said, it was a great day for science.

Sen. Andrew Zwicker. (File photo)

Any time a moment that brings science into the mainstream — whether it’s a fusion breakthrough, a cool telescope image, an unmanned aircraft closely approaching a planet or, like yesterday, a total solar eclipse — the scientific world benefits.

So said state Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-Hillsborough), whose day job involves work at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

“Given the state of science literacy in the U.S., anything like this a huge positive for science — and can only help push the importance of funding research and making new discoveries,” he said.

Monday’s actual event lasted only minutes, but its impact — pre- and post-event parties and news coverage — will last much longer, he said.

Zwicker said the Princeton community benefited from the events the university held — as did those at other universities and businesses. It was the reality version of the “Big Bang Theory” TV show.

Of course, the impact at the high school, middle school and grade school level may prove to be even greater. Who knows what young child didn’t just see the eclipse, but stopped and asked, “Why?”

It’s for all those reasons that the actual science of the day didn’t really matter, Zwicker said.

Zwicker felt the same way in December 2022, when the world announced a breakthrough in fusion energy. (See full report here.)

It’s moments like these that bring science alive for the next generation.

If, following the eclipse, just a few kids watch a video such as this — “Why does the sun really shine?” — the state of science will be better off, Zwicker said.

There’s nothing like taking a moment of darkness to shine a light on science.