All the Citizen Science Projects You Can Participate in During the Eclipse

Mike Powers


Several eclipse-focused projects are set to make big scientific contributions this coming Monday, April 8. While many projects are already in full swing, there’s still time for you to take part and contribute.

It’s nearly go time, with the Great North America Solar Eclipse set to carve a path from Mexico through to Canada’s maritime provinces. The upcoming celestial spectacle isn’t just a marvel to behold—it’s also an opportunity for serious science projects that rely heavily on citizen scientists to collect valuable data.

GLOBE Eclipse

This NASA-led global citizen science initiative allows volunteers to engage in Earth science research through a smartphone app (details on the app here). Participants, by using this temporary feature in the GLOBE Observer app, can contribute by documenting cloud types, tracking land cover (i.e. vegetation at the data collection site), and recording atmospheric conditions, such as temperature drops, during the solar eclipse.

How to Observe with GLOBE Eclipse

This wide-ranging data collection supports Earth system science research, which is made accessible to scientists and students, and is open to anyone with a smartphone. And the good news: No specialized knowledge required.

Eclipse Soundscapes

Funded by NASA Science Activation, Eclipse Soundscapes is a unique project that will gather multi-sensory observations and sound data during the upcoming solar eclipse to study its impact on local ecosystems. Participants contribute by taking recordings before, during, and after the eclipse, helping researchers understand how these events affect animal and plant behavior. As observers, “you will go outside on eclipse day to record information about your location and what you hear, see, or feel” during the total solar eclipse, according to the program’s website. Observations can be taken from on, near, or off the eclipse path. The project is inclusive and designed for accessibility, inviting both sighted and visually impaired individuals to engage in eclipse science through sensory experiences. You can sign up to be an observer here, but you have to take a free online training course first.

Sunsketcher

NASA’s SunSketcher project tasks volunteers with measuring the Sun’s shape during the solar eclipse using a free smartphone app. Participants are asked to take timed photos to capture Baily’s Beads, revealing insights into the Sun’s structure and testing theories of gravity. A video tutorial can be accessed here. “The 2024 Eclipse offers an unprecedented opportunity to measure the shape of the Sun and so to infer its inner structure,” explains principal investigator Gordon Emslie. “The SunSketcher project will use smartphone observations by Citizen Scientists situated along the two-thousand-mile-long eclipse path from Texas to Maine to reveal the precise shape of the solar disk.”

Eclipse Megamovie

The Eclipse Megamovie project involves capturing the dynamics of the solar corona, including jets and plumes, during a total solar eclipse using DSLR cameras mounted to a tripod. Volunteers from multiple locations will collaborate to create a continuous movie of the eclipse, providing valuable data for scientific analysis. This project not only offers an opportunity for public participation in astronomical research but also helps scientists gain a better understanding of the solar corona and its changes during an eclipse. Sign up here.

Citizen CATE 2024

This citizen science project aims to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, during the total solar eclipse. Volunteers will take images of the eclipse in polarized light, contributing to our understanding of the structures and changes in the corona.

Citizen Cate 2024

The resulting clips, between two to three minutes in length, “will be combined into a 60-minute movie that reflects the magnetic structure of the Sun’s middle corona, revealing the electron density and showing how magnetic energy is converted into heat,” according to the Citizen Cate 2024 website. Apply here.

The Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast (DEB)

In this citizen science project, led by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, small teams will use telescopes to capture detailed images of the eclipse, documenting the dynamic appearance of the Sun and its corona. These images will help scientists better understand the Sun’s moment-to-moment changes during the eclipse. Live stream links will be available here.

Radio JOVE

This NASA-led citizen science project will allow participants to observe and study radio emissions from the Sun and Jupiter using a simple radio telescope. Radio JOVE aims to enhance understanding of solar and planetary radio emissions and promote radio astronomy as a hobby. Volunteers can either build their own radio telescope using a kit provided by the project or use existing equipment. Practice sessions have already been completed, but you may catch some audible signs of the eclipse at this live feed.

HamSCI

HamSCI, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation, is a project that brings together the amateur radio community and professional scientists. During the upcoming eclipse, amateur radio operators will participate in experiments to study the ionosphere’s response to changes in solar radiation. Ham radio enthusiasts contribute by recording signal strengths and communication ranges, providing data that helps scientists understand ionospheric variations​. Inquire about joining here.

The Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) 2024 experiment

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is organizing educational events and research activities for the April 8 total solar eclipse, which include public experiments and a livestream.

2024 Eclipse | The Science of a Total Solar Eclipse

A key focus is the Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse 2024 experiment, involving roughly 40 community teams of citizen scientists, who will take continuous observations along the path of totality. Additionally, NSF’s high-altitude research aircraft and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope will conduct specialized observations, complemented by educational resources and programs for broader public and academic engagement.

The University of Texas at Dallas’ ScintPi Sensors Project

University of Texas at Dallas researchers are utilizing ionospheric scintillation monitors, ScintPi sensors, originally designed to study the Earth’s upper atmosphere, for the upcoming total solar eclipse. These low-cost sensors, adaptable for citizen science projects, gather data on ion density by receiving radio signals from satellites. During the April 8 eclipse, these sensors will be deployed to various locations, including sites within the path of totality, to collect crucial data. This effort, open to citizen scientists, provides an accessible way to contribute to solar and ionospheric research. The resulting data will enhance the understanding of the ionosphere and could even contribute to solar event studies.

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