We are actively raising funds for the Solar Balloon Eclipse Network. Scroll down for a list of unique gifts flown to the edge of space.
Experience the Great American Solar Eclipse from the edge of space! Help us create the first-ever 360-degree movie of the Moon’s shadow sweeping across the continental U.S. during a total eclipse of the sun.
Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have developed a balloon payload that can photograph solar eclipses from the stratosphere. This sets the stage for a one-of-a-kind photography experiment: On August 21, 2017, the Moon will pass in front of the sun over the USA, producing a total eclipse visible from coast to coast. We will launch balloons to record the event from multiple points along the path of totality. The pins show our confirmed launch sites so far:
Floating more than 100,000 feet above the clouds, the balloons will have an unobstructed view of the eclipse. Each payload will be equipped with a 360-degree camera. This camera will record not only the sun’s ghostly corona in the sky above, but also the Moon’s dark shadow racing across the landscape below. When the eclipse is finished, we will combine the footage to create a unique video portrait of an eclipse sweeping across the American continent. This will be the first time in history a movie of a full eclipse as it moves across the United States is captured from the stratosphere.
Our payload has already traveled to the stratosphere and photographed a partial solar eclipse in Oct. 2014:
To test the payload under conditions of totality, a team of students and parents from Earth to Sky Calculus visited Indonesia on March 9, 2016. They were stationed on a beach on the island of Belitung when the Moon’s shadow enveloped them for 3 full minutes. Our spherical eclipse camera and other optics did a great job recording the event.
There’s more to our mission than photography, however. We are also going to conduct a unique experiment in atmospheric radiation.
For the past three years we have been flying balloons to the stratosphere equipped with neutron, X-ray, and gamma-ray sensors. As a result of these flights, we’ve discovered that cosmic rays in Earth’s atmosphere are intensifying. Here is a plot of radiation dose rates over California:
What’s happening over the rest of the country? The solar eclipse gives us a chance to find out. With teams launching balloons and radiation sensors from as many as a dozen sites, we can get a unique snapshot of the cosmic ray environment in the North American atmosphere from ground level to 120,000 feet and from coast to coast.
Readers, would you like to join the Solar Eclipse Balloon Network? There are many ways you can help.
We still need lots of hardware for our payloads–including more radiation sensors, GPS trackers, and cameras. To fund the cost of the launch sites and balloon payloads, we are selling eclipse-related products on our Earth to Sky website. Purchasing these products will allows us to by the crucial items needed for each launch site and to dispatch teams of students across the country to study the Great American Solar Eclipse from the edge of space. With enough funding we can launch multiple balloons from each site, increasing the footage we can take and the number of people who can participate. A limited number of people can even join us in the path of totality!
We are offering a variety of eclipse-related products on our website. If you are interested in participating directly at a launch site and supporting the Solar Eclipse Balloon Network at a higher level, please visit our GoFundMe campaign.
Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses:
Get ready for the Great American Solar Eclipse! These safe solar glasses will allow you to view any phase of the solar eclipse without fear of damage to your eyes. The Family Pack includes 3 pairs of glasses and costs only $29.95.
Become an honorary member of the Earth to Sky Solar Eclipse Team! Official club tee-shirts are available in four sizes (S, M, L and XL) and two styles (Male and Female). The shirt was designed by Earth to Sky founding student Ginger Perez. All proceeds support student space weather research and our Solar Eclipse Balloon Network. (Specify the size and style you want in the comments field at checkout.)
Thank you for your support!