Eclipse Megamovie: Gathering Images of the Solar Corona From the Public for Science, Education, and Art

Presenter Full Name
Dr. Peticolas
Year & Semester
2018 Spring
Presentation Date
March 12, 2018

Last August 21, 2017, there was a total solar eclipse crossing the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic—the first such eclipse in 99 years. This astronomical event brought people from around the world to the United States to experience the eclipse, and to perform scientific research. The promise of a unique experience during “totality,” when the moon completely blocks the Sun, also created a motivation for communities throughout the U.S. to learn simple orbital dynamics, information about the dynamic Sun as a star, and the practices of astronomical research. Since 2011, a team of solar scientists, eclipse chasers, educators, outreach professionals, and filmmakers have been working toward a dream of gathering images from—and ultimately for—the public during the 2017 eclipse across the United States. The goal of this project is to collect these images for use by the public, including scientists, to create an “Eclipse Megamovie” of the corona from images taken along a long stretch of land and over a long time period. An archive of all the images will be used for research on the Sun’s corona as well as science education, art, and videos—all to enhance the experience of the eclipse. Dr. Peticolas will provide an overview of the 2017 total solar eclipse and describe some scientific research efforts that are ongoing, as a result of collecting over 50,000 coronal images.