Here you'll find some of the citizen science projects being undertaken for the August 21, 2017, total eclipse of the Sun. These are generally ones whose organizers are known to members of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force. If you are organizing, or know of, an eclipse-related citizen science project that you think belongs here, please contact us; we can't guarantee that we'll add the item to our website, but we will consider it.
Citizen CATE: The Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment (National Solar Observatory)
- As the Moon's shadow travels across the continental USA on August 21, 2017, citizen astronomers using identical telescopes and cameras at more than 60 sites will record images of the inner solar corona. While totality will last only about 2 minutes at each site, the combined Citizen CATE Experiment data set will reveal for the first time how this part of the Sun's atmosphere changes over the course of 90 minutes. See the article by project leader Matt Penn in Sky & Telescope and visit Dr. Penn's website for more details.
Do-It-Yourself Relativity Test (Donald Bruns, Stellar Products)
- Using off-the-shelf equipment during the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse, you can measure the gravitational deflection of starlight and prove for yourself that Einstein really was right. For detailed instructions, see Bruns's article in Sky & Telescope, August 2016 and his presentation (PDF) at the Society for Astronomical Sciences 2016 Symposium on Telescope Science.
Eclipse Edge Determination Experiment (International Occultation Timing Association)
- The organizers of this project aim to pinpoint the actual edge of the path of totality. The most developed effort so far is at Minden, Nebraska. Others at any other location near the path edges are invited to record the eclipse with smartphones and small telescopes. The goals are to help determine the accuracy of eclipse path predictions and to contribute to a long-term study to measure possible changes in the size of the Sun.
Eclipse Megamovie Project (Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley)
- This project will produce a high-definition video of the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. The video will be pieced together from images and movies collected at various points along the path of the Moon's shadow by trained, knowledgeable citizens using uniform equipment and will provide data sets that far exceed what any one person could capture from a single location.
EclipseMob (National Association of Geoscience Teachers & Geological Society of America)
- EclipseMob is a crowdsourced effort to conduct the largest-ever low-frequency radio wave propagation experiment during the 2017 solar eclipse. The National Institute of Standards and Technology operates several radio stations that provide precise time and frequency reference signals, including WWVB. EclipseMob will explore how the WWVB signal strength changes in response to ionospheric changes caused by the eclipse.
Eclipse Soundscapes (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
- During a total solar eclipse, we gaze in amazement as day becomes night. But, along with the striking visual effects, the soundscape of natural environments changes dramatically. These changes, to be recorded by a special mobile app, are not only of interest to sociologists, birders, and naturalists, but will also give the blind and visually impaired an opportunity to experience this rare celestial event.
HamSCI 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Experiment (Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation)
- During a total solar eclipse, the Moon's shadow causes changes to Earth's ionosphere that affect radio-wave propagation. Though these changes have been studied for more than 50 years, many unanswered questions remain. HamSCI is inviting amateur radio operators to participate in a large-scale experiment to characterize the ionospheric response to the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse and thereby help advance ionospheric physics.
How Cool Is the Eclipse? (GLOBE Observer & NASA)
- The Earth is solar-powered. So what happens when the Sun's light is blocked, even temporarily? If you measure air and surface temperature, how cool is the eclipse? Help answer these questions and others by collecting data using the GLOBE Observer app during the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse. Observe how the eclipse changes atmospheric conditions near you. Provide comparison data even if you are not in the path of totality.
How Dark Does the Sky Get During a Solar Eclipse? (GLOBE at Night)
- If you are within the path of totality on August 21, 2017, you can participate in an activity to observe and record the faintest stars visible as a means of measuring how dark the daytime sky gets when the Sun is blocked by the Moon. By locating and observing the Big Dipper during totality and comparing it to star charts, you'll help researchers document darkness levels of the daytime sky during a total solar eclipse.
Modern Eddington Experiment (Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University)
- Similar to Donald Bruns's Do-It-Yourself Relativity Test (above), but organized by a professional astronomer and historian of science who specializes in difficult observing challenges, the MEE will attempt to confirm Einstein's general theory of relativity with higher precision than that achieved by Arthur Eddington at the 1919 eclipse. Can you photograph the deflection of starlight by the Sun's mass with your own telescope and camera? Give it a try!
NASA Space Grant Eclipse Ballooning Project (Montana State University, Bozeman)
- Students will conduct high-altitude balloon flights from 15 to 20 locations along the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina, sending live video and images from near space to the NASA eclipse website and Stream. Such footage has been shot only once before, in Australia in 2012, but it's never been done live, nor in a network of coverage across a continent.
Solar Eclipse 2017: Life Responds (California Academy of Sciences)
- How does life respond to a total solar eclipse? There is evidence that plants and animals react to the dramatic changes in the environment, but many such reports are anecdotal. CalAcademy invites eclipse-watchers across the USA to use the iNaturalist app (available for both iOS and Android mobile devices) to record behavior changes you observe during the August 2017 eclipse.
Solar Eclipse Balloon Network (Spaceweather.com & Earth to Sky Calculus)
- Scientists and students have developed a balloon payload that can photograph solar eclipses from the stratosphere. During the August 21st eclipse they'll launch balloons from up to 12 points along the path of totality to create a 360° movie of the Moon's shadow sweeping across the U.S., not unlike the NASA Space Grant Eclipse Ballooning Project (see above). The team asks for donations from the public to finance the effort.