Scientists are enlisting the public’s help for an exciting new project. They are looking to create a solar eclipse megamovie. This 90-minute creation could offer a never seen before look at a solar eclipse.
On August 21st, 2017, people will have the chance to experience a somewhat rare event. August 21 marks the date of the upcoming total solar eclipse. Its been almost 40 years since U.S. resident last had the chance to witness such an event.
Solar eclipses occur as the Moon comes in between our Earth and the Sun. During such events, the satellite blocks the Sun’s light. And it also casts a shadow on the surface of the Earth. The moon also seems to be as big as the Sun during these eclipses.
Now, Google and University of California, Berkley scientists are trying to better record this event. And for that, they are enlisting the public’s help. Together, they are hoping to create a solar eclipse megamovie. More exactly, this would be the most complete ever record of such an event.
Google and UC Berkley are calling it the Eclipse Megamovie Project. And they presented it earlier this week. Also, this week saw the release of the Eclipse Megamovie 2017 website. This will try to make it easier for citizen scientists to get involved.
The solar eclipse megamovie will be created by combining footage. This will be coming from more than 1,000 cameras. These will be specifically placed all along the eclipse’s path. As such, the scientists are hoping to capture some never before seen images. Ones that can’t possibly be photographed by a single person.
As such, they are hoping to involve more people in their project. And then to combine their footage. Which will be used in creating the 90-minutes long solar eclipse megamovie.
On August 21, the Moon should cast the center of its shadow across the United States. It should trace out an almost diagonal line. One that will stretch from Oregon up to South Carolina.
Solar eclipse observers placed exactly at the center of this so-called “path of totality” should enjoy quite a view. They may be able to observe the eclipse for even up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
During this time period, the Moon’s shadow will be passing over the ground at quite an impressive speed. It may reach up to 1,500 miles per hour.
For their solar eclipse megamovie project, the scientists are hoping to select over 1,000 volunteers. These will be also specifically trained. And they will have to record as much of the solar eclipse as possible. The resulting terabytes will then be brought together.
Which should result in a high-resolution, complete Eclipse Megamovie. One which would present the full total solar eclipse, as seen from Earth.
Laura Peticolas offered details in a press statement. She is a physicist and responsible with overseeing the Eclipse Megamovie Project educational component. Peticolas stated that they want everyone to learn about the eclipse.
There are looking to present this natural wonder. And also draw attention to its scientific importance. An emphasis will also be placed on the social impact of viewing this live total solar eclipse.
Peticolas described such an event as a life-changing, transformative experience. And the scientists want to prepare people for it.
In the summer, the Eclipse Megamovie Project will also be releasing a mobile app. This will let anyone send in videos of the eclipse. They will be used for a second solar eclipse megamovie. One that will have a lower image resolution.
Through this project, the scientists are also hoping to gain some research insight and answers. They will be paying special attention to the corona and “Baily’s Beads”.
The next total solar eclipse to be visible across the United States will be taking place in April 2024. Those interested in participating in the solar eclipse megamovie program can access the Eclipse Megamovie 2017 website.
Image Source: Flickr