Total Lunar Eclipse over Montecito

While most of Montecito residents were comfortably tucked in their beds, this journalist ventured out to two of the most beautiful natural areas of Montecito to time-track the total lunar eclipse that began at 2 am on August 28. I started out at Butterfly Beach, but the humidity and mist layer were obliterating the images, so I packed up the gear and headed over to the Romero Canyon Trail Head, which offered a clear and unobstructed view of the unfolding phenomenon. I started photographing at 2:30 am and finished at 5 am.

The full Moon entered the Earth's shadow for a 90-minute total eclipse. People on the Pacific side of Earth had the best view as the Moon turned a dreamy shade of sunset red. According to NASA, although the dominant color of a lunar eclipse is red, another hue appears: turquoise. The Earth's shadow has a turquoise-colored fringe caused by our planet's ozone layer. The eclipse was over by 5 am, when the bright white full moon emerged over the Romero Trail Head on Ladera Lane.

During the eclipse, there were also shooting stars, and once the moon was totally red, the constellations gave a full show, with the 3:14 am image showing, the "dipper" as the star grouping to the right of the red moon!

Anyone interested in these events can obtain info from Space Weather News, our government’s website: http://spaceweather.com

The New Track at MUS and other News

Summer ’07 has been a busy one for Montecito Union School, says Principal Kris Bergstrom, who commented that, “We have had many projects that have enhanced our school, and we are excited about them.”

The first project is the new track. The MUS Educational Foundation made a proposal to redo the track. They had evaluated the track area for its safety for the students and community use. The evaluation showed that the track had uneven surfaces, a gopher problem, and other wear and tear issues that required repair work. The decision was to redo the entire track area to provide a quality surface for track events, as well as repair the current landscape issues the track needed.

The work included a new drainage system, a retaining wall on the north side, a new sprinkler system, new sod, leveling the field area and installing an all-weather track. In order to do this, the Foundation raised $350,000. Work on the track continues and will be completed sometime in October, at which time it will be available for all MUS track events, the school’s PE Department, and for use by the local community. Bergstrom sees the track being used to host track meets, something they could not do before.

The retaining wall is constructed of river rock that was donated to the project. The wall includes “bench” areas for spectators made of the same material as the wall.

Other projects around MUS include a new roof, a new ceiling in the auditorium, and a renovated school garden donated by a local landscaper that is estimated to have cost around $100,000.

There are two new teachers for the new school year. Due to increased enrollment, the kindergarten needed an additional section, which will be taught by Ann Padden-Rubin. MUS has also hired Cold Spring School 6th-grade teacher Amanda Craig. The Craigs were planning to move from the area, and in the interim, Amanda had submitted her leave to CSS. When the Craigs move plan changed, MUS offered her a teaching position. “We are very happy to have Amanda; she was an inspirational and wonderful teacher at CSS, and we feel fortunate to have her here at MUS,” said Ms Bergstrom.

Other news of note this year for MUS is MUS’s new school lunch program, the personal project of Superintendent Dick Douglas is now fully organic and healthy (you can read Celeste Scheinberg’s report on this online at montecitojournal.net; go to “Coming & Going, Issue # 13/34). Montecito Union School is now proud owner of a 63-passenger bus, which will be used to transport students to and from the school for both environmental reasons, and to decrease traffic on San Ysidro Road during pre-school and after-school pickup times.