NASA Invites *YOU* To Collect Science Data During the April 8 Eclipse

NASA Invites *YOU* To Collect Science Data During the April 8 Eclipse

NASA is inviting the public to participate in collecting science data during the April 8 solar eclipse through its citizen science projects. Weather permitting, everyone in the contiguous United States will see at least a partial eclipse and those in 15 states will see a total eclipse. The space agency is also reminding everyone NEVER to look directly at the Sun unless wearing special protective glasses.

During a briefing at NASA Headquarters today, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and NASA Eclipse Program Manager Kelly Korreck encouraged the public not only to take the time to SAFELY view the eclipse, but collect data with their smartphones of how animals react and other phenomena.

NASA news conference on the 2024 solar eclipse, L-R: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson wearing protective solar eclipse glasses; NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy; NOAA Office of Space Weather Observations Director Elsayed Talaat; NASA Eclipse Program Manager Kelly Korreck; NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free. March 26, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

“Unusual things start to happen as the normal rhythms of the Earth are disrupted,” Nelson said.  “When you’re seeing this eclipse, you ought to observe this as the day appears, turns to dusk and then dark. People have heard birds stop singing. They’ve seen giraffes suddenly begin to gallop, roosters start crowing, and crickets chirp. So watch for these unusual behaviors and we encourage you to help NASA observe the sights and sounds around you.”

The total eclipse will travel northeast from Mexico through Texas and up through Maine into Canada. Those not in the path of the total eclipse will see a partial eclipse.


NASA astrophysicist and Eclipse Program Manager Kelly Korreck  briefs the media at NASA HQ, March 26, 2024. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Korreck pointed to three of the over 40 NASA citizen science projects the public can participate in during the eclipse using apps on their smartphones or with other tools:

NASA in coordination with others will hold eclipse day events in 13 locations where the total eclipse will be visible, as well as on the National Mall in Washington, DC where it will be about 89 percent.

Observations also will be collected by three sounding rockets launched from Wallops Island, VA, balloons launched by NASA and students, and NASA’s WB-57 airplane, which will “chase the eclipse” with special instruments onboard to get “an extra two minutes of totality and a deeper understanding of the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere,” Korreck said.

Today’s briefing was intended to include Shailen Bhatt, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, to talk about dealing with traffic and driving safely while others are distracted by the eclipse. She was needed in Baltimore, however, after a container ship crashed into and destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a major thoroughfare along the East Coast, with the loss of at least six lives on the bridge. Nelson opened the briefing by offering thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the catastrophe.

NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free stepped in to give the safety warning — watch out for pedestrians, don’t suddenly stop by the side of the road, “stay focused on everyone around us,” and wear eclipse glasses!

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