Total eclipse visible from coast to coast
in the USA
INTERCONTINENTAL BALLOON NETWORK: Aug 21, 2016 is an important date. It's the one year pre-anniversary of the Great American Solar Eclipse.
On Aug. 21, 2017, the Moon will pass in front of the sun, producing a total eclipse visible from coast to coast in the USA.
To record the eclipse as never before, spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus will lead more than a dozen teams of citizen scientists in launching balloons through the path of totality.
Our goal: to photograph the eclipse from the stratosphere and create a unique movie of the Moon's shadow sweeping across the continent.
Such an ambitious project requires practice, and we're starting now:
For the next month we'll be launching groups of balloons from multiple sites around North and South America. Each site (including the one in Chile) will be crewed by students and teachers involved in the Solar Eclipse Balloon Network.
Launching large numbers of balloons simultaneously is a key logistical challenge for the 2017 eclipse, and this will be good practice indeed.
The first launch on Aug. 21st will involve as many as four balloons lifting off from Chile, California, Oregon and Illinois.
Because our standard eclipse payload includes radiation sensors, we will be learning a great deal about the geographical distribution of cosmic rays in Earth's atmosphere.
The Chilean launch, in particular, promises interesting results as it occurs directly beneath the South Atlantic Anomaly.