Many parents and teachers are excited about the opportunity for teaching science during the eclipse on August 21. The path of the solar eclipse will cross the entire United States, and many areas will see totality. Other areas will experience a partial eclipse, but the opportunities for education and learning new things are endless.
In some places, you can help scientists find out a few hidden facts about the cosmos, if you are in the right area. Astronomers will be viewing with telescopes, binoculars, and cameras. They will be watching also from the International Space Station. They’ll also be flying three planes that will launch over 70 high altitude balloons.
“We expect a boatload of science from this one,” said Williams College astronomer Jay Pasachoff, who has traveled to 65 eclipses of all kinds.
Scientists will be examinine the sun, but also what happens here on earth. They’ll study the weather, and the effect on animals and plants on earth.
One of NASA’s projects involves students launching high altitude balloons which will provide “live footage from the edge of space”. Citizen scientists can also participate through the use of telescopes, and watching animals.
“Millions of people can walk out on their porch in their slippers and collect world-class data,” said Matt Penn, an astronomer at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.
Many people will participate by using the Naturalist app from the California Academy of Sciences to note reactions of animals and plants. You can do this anywhere, but certain zoos, such as the Nashville Zoo in the totality zone, are open during the eclipse and asking people to keep track of what the animals are doing. At University of California, Berkeley, photos and videos are being sought for the Eclipse Megamovie 2017.