a woman with black hair wearing a red top and a necklace. The woman is smiling. Waleska works with in-service teachers in the teacher training programs of the Galileo University and the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. She is the founder and coordinator of the STEAM program

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I was born in the city of the eternal Spring, Guatemala City, in Central America, several eclipses, comets, and moons ago.

Question: What inspired you to work in this field?
Answer: Since I was little I had a fascination with natural phenomena, the reason why stars shine led me to be a Physicist, and fireflies and bioluminescence have always caught my attention. I went out with my father when I was very little to look for fireflies at night, something I miss a lot now with climate change. The gardens were filled with fireflies at night; it was a unique spectacle, and this always caught my attention; how electronic devices work, and that's how I advanced in my career. I became interested in the National Science Olympics, and that's how I found the Physics major. The more I know about the GLOBE program, the more it catches my attention, and I consider it a valuable program so that young people can learn about the intersection between sciences: between Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics. The program works well in low-resource schools, as it also promotes imagination and creativity. It uses something wonderful, the sky as an observatory and laboratory. It provides a unique opportunity for young people to interact with something they see very far away: real scientists and NASA.

Question: What inspires you about eclipses?
Answer: Since ancient times, eclipses have fascinated humanity. I had the opportunity to see the 1991 eclipse, and I have had the privilege of seeing several lunar eclipses. It reminds us that we are not in an isolated system, that the universe is wonderful and that we still have a lot to discover. It reminds us that the world is bigger than the 4 walls where we normally live. The eclipse is a unique opportunity, and this one in particular will pass over our heads at noon. With luck, we may see the comet Pons-Brooks at the same time as the eclipse (near Jupiter during totality). Both are unique, valuable experiences that create the illusion of space in the collective imagination. That wonderful place, unknown, immense and yet to be known. I am from the generation that was excited about space as the final frontier, and it became the means to learn more about our planet. That is the value of a program like GLOBE. During this eclipse, we want to monitor the incidence of clouds and cosmic radiation. From the previous eclipse, we had the experience that it rained slightly after the totality of the annularity, with a completely clear sky. Nature is wonderful!

Question: What ideas would you like to share about how to participate and observe an eclipse, like the one occurring on 08 April 2024?
Answer:We encourage them to participate and observe the eclipse safely, whether with appropriate lenses, observation boxes, punched cards, but above all, safely. An extremely useful tool is GLOBE Observer, just try to update it and become familiar with it beforehand. It is a valuable tool where you can share data and observations with people throughout the entire trajectory. This eclipse, due to its same characteristics, has a wider area of totality than previous ones, the moon will be slightly closer, and it will also be an experience with a longer observation time, around 4 minutes 23 seconds in some places. This allows you to observe clouds, nature, and changes in surface temperature; but above all, experience it as a whole.

Try to enjoy the eclipse, wherever you are; it is a unique opportunity that also demonstrates that science transcends borders and unites people. Millions of people will be in the path of this eclipse that passes through large cities in Mexico and the United States. It is a unique opportunity in urban centers to see this phenomenon, motivate the passion for science, and also have a totally free cosmic spectacle.

Question: What advice would you like to tell the next generation of observers?
Answer: Fight for your dreams, wherever you are, there are opportunities to do science, to innovate, to dream and create a better future for everyone. We depend on the next observers to solve the enigmas of science. Citizen scientists like you will be the scientists of the future who solve society's problems and create wonderful new discoveries. Physics needs many observers who can answer those questions that contribute in the process to improving everyone's daily lives. We depend on you, and we trust you. See the sky with those eyes of wonder, like children for the first time; but know that we are all here to help you in any way we can, that our knowledge and experience is at the service of this generation.

More Blog Entries