By David Fleet
Goodrich- On a frigid January night most high school students were home or at very least in a much warmer environment.
But Goodrich High School Senior Ben Cote, a few classmates and a physics teacher were recently the exception.
Cote along with others joined skywatchers in North America for a celestial treat late Sunday evening on Jan. 20 and early Monday morning, as the moon went into eclipse and turned blood-red. During the special nocturnal hour, the full moon became fully tinted with the red-orange color of sunset.
Other than staying warm, Cote’s mission was to complete his GHS Capstone project. Since 2013, GHS seniors like Cote, are challenged by a final project that any student enrolled in a high school English class must complete to graduate. The project allows students to apply all they learned to a meaningful project.
The 2016 solar eclipse helped Cote drive toward what he wanted to do in life—astronomy, space, and research. So when the recent total lunar eclipse, the last one until May 2021, and the last one visible from the United States until 2022 came up, Cote used the event for his Capstone project.
“It was an opportunity for the whole community to get involved, in the cold, looking at the moon,” said Cote.
“We were all looking at the moon being changed in this natural environment. Space related right here in Goodrich.”
GHS Physics teacher Clinton Densham assisted in the project.
“We had a pretty nice set up on Sunday night out there by the Middle School,” he said. “The eclipse is so much bigger than any individual person. Consider the vastness of space and the tinniest level that we are on it’s just so incomprehensible. There’s so much out there that has not been discovered yet. Even in the horrid temperatures and the pain we are all bonded together by enjoying the beauty of the natural world.”
Cote has not decided on which college to study astronomy and astrophysics he will attend this fall. His plans are to become a researcher at a high level institution or government such as NASA.