Archive for the ‘Astronomy & Space’ Category

Science Experiments for the Public during the Solar Eclipse

By August 16th, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Comment

The two towers of the Schaeberle Camera and the rock wall at Jeur (India), with overlall height lowered by use of a pit for the plate-holder. Credit: Mary Lea Shane Archives

By Dr. Liz MacDonald, founder of Aurorasaurus and scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. This blog reposted from blog.aurorasaurus.org.

Over a century ago, American astronomer W.W. Campbell set up a 40 foot ‘Schaeberle camera’ in Jeur, India to take pictures and study various properties of the sun’s outermost layer called the corona during the 1898 total solar eclipse. To make sure no people or animals would tamper with the camera before the eclipse occurred, he found volunteers to guard the delicate equipment the evening before the experiment. Today, in 2017, volunteers called citizen scientists are again helping scientists make observations and learn more about the sun and Earth interaction. This time though, citizen scientists across the United States will have more direct involvement, actually collecting data by making their own observations and operating instruments. Read the rest of this entry »

Look down, look all around during the total solar eclipse

By August 7th, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Comment

Solar eclipse. Credit: Luc Viatour (CC-BY-SA)

On August 21st, millions of people across the U.S. will have the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse. But we won’t be the only ones taking notice—there is a good chance animals, and even some plants, will be affected by the event, too.

It is not as farfetched as you might think. Many animals and plants respond to daily changes in light and temperature. Birds sing at dawn while fireflies come out at twilight.  Flowers like morning glories and poppies open in the morning and close at night; others, like the bat-pollinated night-blooming cereus, open their flowers and release their fragrance well after the sun has gone down. When sunlight dims and temperatures cool during this month’s eclipse, the change might be significant enough to affect these and other organisms. Read the rest of this entry »

Help scientists discover what else happens during a solar eclipse!

By August 4th, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Comment 1

It’s a Solar Eclipse!

I, Luc Viatour

When the moon completely covers the sun on August 21, will animals behave differently? Will air and surface temperatures fluctuate? Help scientists answer these and other research questions!

Below, we highlight projects you can do in the path of the eclipse, in your own backyard, and a couple for after the eclipse. Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »

Capturing the Total Solar Eclipse, One Photo at a Time

By June 21st, 2017 at 9:00 am | Comment

By: Alexei V. Filippenko and Hugh Hudson

Diagram of a solar eclipse. Credit: Google

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will trace a shadow over a narrow band of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.  And if you own a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera*, you can become a part of scientific history by joining hundreds of other photographers to make the first crowdsourced image archive of a total solar eclipse from coast to coast.

The “Eclipse Megamovie” project aims to capture many types of solar phenomena with images taken along the path of totality of the August 21 eclipse by over 1,000 trained volunteers, as well as photos from many more members of the general public through the use of smartphones and simple cameras. This first-of-its-kind citizen science project is a partnership between Google, UC Berkeley, and many others. Our primary goal is to collect as much imagery as possible and to hold it in a vast public-domain archive for future study.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read, Participate, Discover, Repeat

By June 3rd, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Comment

Today is National Repeat Day and what better way to celebrate than to publish an older post?A recent article in Astrophysical Journal Letters has shown that citizen scientists have just discovered the first brown dwarf through the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project just four weeks after the project launched back in February.  Now, isn’t that worth repeating?

Post by Marc J. Kuchner, originally published on February 15, 2017

Eighty-seven years ago, this week, Clyde Tombaugh was poring over a pair of photographic plates, hoping to change the world.  He was staring hard into an arcane device called a blink comparator, which allowed him to rapidly switch from viewing one image to the next. In those days before computers, that was the best tool he had for finding the faint, moving dot he was seeking, a new planet in our solar system. Read the rest of this entry »