An Introductory Web Activity: Searching for Eclipses

To get us familiar with the Internet, and with search engines, what I'd like y'all to do is conduct a general search for information on the recent Solar Eclipse that was seen across the Eastern Hemisphere.

How do you do this?

1) Open your Web Browser program (Netscape, Internet Explorer or others)

2) Click on "Search", or its equivalent. What this will do is put you into one of the various Internet search engines (Infoseek, Excite, Yahoo, Dogpile, etc.) that are available. Everyone won't have access to the same search engines - however, they all behave essentially the same way.

3) Input your search terms. The way a search engine works is it looks for titles or index pages of websites that CONTAIN the terms you input. Most also have a limited content evaluation function which tries to give you an idea of how good a "fit" the sites in question are to your search. The nature of the searches, however, are such that is you put in the word eclipse, you're going to get a crazy number of "hits" (like in the millions).

4) The way to avoid this is to narrow your search, either by putting in multiple terms (you'll need to check the Help function on your search engine to see how it needs to read multiple terms - Excite will read phrases and names, and many (but not all) others will as well), or, if your engine allows it, to search the menu of sites you've already brought up by inputting additional terms. Either way, the trick is to narrow in on what you're looking for: information about the 1999 Solar Eclipse!

What do we want to find out?

a) The date(s) of the eclipse.

b) The path of the eclipse across the earth (where was it visible?)

c) Was it a Total Eclipse, or Annular, or only Partial?

d) When is the next eclipse likely to occur?

e) When is the next eclipse that we in the US are likely to be able to see?

 

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