The Great American Eclipse: Here's How Citizens Could Contribute To Science

First Posted: Jan 25, 2017 04:02 AM EST

The Great American Eclipse is set to stun citizens this year. NASA is inviting amateur and professional astronomers to take part in this most-awaited scientific event. reported that NASA has provided a list of ways on how both scientists and science enthusiasts could contribute to science when the total solar eclipse occurs on Aug. 21. Astronomy professor Tyler Nordgren at the University of Redlands in California will talk about the experiments people could be involved in at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS) in Boston in February.

Students and adults may participate by tracking the speed of the Moon shadow's movement across a landscape with the use of a smartphone or a smartwatch. The best place to witness the eclipse would be at a high landmark or over the mountains.

Albert Einstein fans could also join the experiment by calculating the general relativity of the eclipse. "The idea is to have people take images of the sun and the stars around it during the total solar eclipse," Nordgren said. "And because of the sun's gravity, it would warp the fabric of space-time around the sun. So, stars only visible during the eclipse will have their positions slightly altered as their light passes by the sun."

People may also want to download light meter apps on their smartphones to participate in measuring ambient light and temperature changes. For those who want to do it old-school, mercury thermometers could absolutely help them monitor the temperature.

Film projects under The Eclipse Megamovie and Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment (CATE) are also welcoming video submissions of the total solar eclipse. The Eclipse Megamovie plans to stitch at least 1,000 clips from various places, while CATE is set to release a 90-minute video of telescopic observations from volunteers.

Professional and amateur filmmakers could sign up on each of their websites.

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