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NASA Urges ‘Citizen Scientists’ to Monitor Solar Eclipse

Participants will use an app to track conditions during the Aug. 21 event

Solar Eclipse Tracking App

Haakon Mosvold Larsen/AP Images

The eclipse will be seen from Oregon to South Carolina.

NASA is inviting viewers across the nation to take part in a science experiment during the Aug. 21 solar eclipse by collecting cloud and air temperature data and reporting the results through their smartphones.

It’s part of Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE ), a NASA-backed research and education program that encourages students and others to help collect and analyze environmental conditions. The program uses GLOBE Observer, a free phone app that guides participants through the collection of data.


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The eclipse will be seen from Oregon to South Carolina over the course of about 90 minutes, with 14 states experiencing night-like darkness for about two minutes before nightfall. It is expected to start off the coast of Oregon at 10:15 a.m. PT and reach South Carolina at 2:50 p.m. ET.

A total eclipse will occur along the path, and all of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse.

“No matter where you are in North America, whether it’s cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people as possible to help with this citizen science project,” Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator for the project, said in a press release. “We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists.”

Participants will need to download the app, register to become a citizen scientist and obtain a thermometer to measure air temperature. Their observations will be recorded on an interactive map.

The app and instructions can be obtained at observer.globe.gov/about/get-the-app.

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