Astronomers look back and future. Many S&T readers fondly recall the 2017 total solar eclipse. This year and next will have annular and total solar eclipses. Four solar eclipses in 531 days—exciting!

You may be packing for the hybrid total solar eclipse in Australia on April 20th. Eclipse scientists are ahead. The Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast (DEB) Initiative is finalizing preparations by traveling to Australia to collect data and test equipment.

This citizen-science effort will stream the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse online and record photographic data for scientists to study the solar corona. Except during total solar eclipses, the Sun’s brilliance masks the corona, which is around 1 million times fainter.

Matt Penn (National Solar Observatory) and Bob Baer (Southern Illinois University), who led the 2017 Citizen CATE Project, are leading the DEB Initiative. Citizen CATE involved around 280 volunteers using similar equipment at 70 viewing sites across the line of totality. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse was used to take 90 minutes of white-light photos of the inner corona. Project success.

A citizen-science effort will webcast this and next year’s eclipses.

Astronomers look back and future. Many S&T readers fondly recall the 2017 total solar eclipse. This year and next will have annular and total solar eclipses. Four solar eclipses in 531 days—exciting!

You may be packing for the hybrid total solar eclipse in Australia on April 20th. Eclipse scientists are ahead. The Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast (DEB) Initiative is finalizing preparations by traveling to Australia to collect data and test equipment.

This citizen-science effort will stream the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse online and record photographic data for scientists to study the solar corona. Except during total solar eclipses, the Sun’s brilliance masks the corona, which is around 1 million times fainter.

Matt Penn (National Solar Observatory) and Bob Baer (Southern Illinois University), who led the 2017 Citizen CATE Project, are leading the DEB Initiative. Citizen CATE involved around 280 volunteers using similar equipment at 70 viewing sites across the line of totality. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse was used to take 90 minutes of white-light photos of the inner corona. Project success.

Black-and-white totality displays corona smoke outside the Moon’s disk.The 2017 Citizen CATE Experiment’s HDR image exhibits inner corona details. DEB Initiative equipment will capture more of the inner corona.

Citizen CATE

We are still recruiting for the DEB Initiative, which has even loftier ambitions. We are doing this.

Several dozen monitoring locations will acquire visual data from the totality path in 2024. These data will enable inner corona material velocity and acceleration measurements. This time, scores of observers outside the totality path will also be vital.

The DEB Initiative seeks to understand the photosphere-corona interactions. This requires a thorough cross-section of the Sun’s atmosphere from the surface to several solar radii. You can’t view all of that at once from one place. That investigation requires simultaneous observations from inside and outside totality. The goal is to have at least 40 teams in the path of totality and 40–60 teams across the continent.

The DEB team has tested an enhanced equipment bundle for all sites for almost two years. Our package is cheaper, faster, and better than 2017.

Why is the project called “broadcast”? The DEB Initiative’s biggest challenge is live-streaming the eclipse and corona. Our website will have near-real-time HDR eclipse photographs from each observation point. The website will show the eclipse as it passes through observing points. NASA Edge, situated at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will broadcast telescope feeds from selected places along the course. The DEB team will analyze full-resolution files after the eclipse.

Fun continues after the Sun returns. Participants can use DEB equipment to continue citizen scientific projects like:

  • Solar flare observations
  • Exoplanet transit observations
  • Asteroid and variable star light curves
  • Broadband atmospheric optical depth measurements to aid in climate research

DEB welcomes all. In 2017, several CATE Experiment participants were teachers. Astronomy clubs have opportunities. Clubs may finance an observing location or work with a local school to teach kids to astronomy and science. The DEB team will teach participants how to use equipment and continue citizen science after 2024.

Annular solar eclipse Our first large-scale test on October 14th has science goals. Only a few months to join, train, and practice. If you want to participate, sponsor an observation location, or just follow along, let us know.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *