The 2017 solar eclipse that sweeps across the United States this August — which is being called the Great American Eclipse — will be the science highlight of the year. Whether you are an amateur or professional astronomer or an occasional stargazer, NASA is on the hunt for people eager to contribute to science during the eclipse.
Tyler Nordgren is an astronomy professor at the University of Redlands in California, who will give a talk on citizen science during the solar eclipse at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Boston next month. To do some experimenting, you need little more than a pair of solar eclipse glasses and a smart phone. Here are some of the experiments in which you can take part:
Tracking the moon's shadow. This experiment is great for elementary school kids. If you're lucky enough to see the eclipse in a mountainous area, you may see the moon making some nearby high landmarks dark before the solar eclipse reaches you. If you know how far away those landmarks are and if you have a phone or a smartwatch tracking the time, you can estimate how fast the moon's shadow moves across the landscape.
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