Citizen Science

Eclipse Resources for Curious Naturalists (& the Naturally Curious)

August 14, 2017

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Eclipses Yield First Images of Elusive Iron Line in Solar Corona © Habbal/NASA

Everything you wanted to know about Total Solar Eclipse 2017 in one convenient list, from where to view, how to view, to the path of totality and beyond. There are enough citizen science projects out there to keep legions of grad students, post docs, professors and researchers busy for decades. And that’s a great thing.

Check it out and make your plans. There’s even a link in here that will calculate how many eclipses you (theoretically) have left in your lifetime. All the more reason not to waste the one we have now.

  • Showy evening primrose (Oenothera rhombipetala) in restored prairie at the Derr Tract of Platte River Prairies, Nebraska. Photo © Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

    Several Conservancy preserves fall in the path of totality during the eclipse. If you want to combine your eclipse-viewing with healthy natural areas, check out this list compiled by Lisa Feldkamp. From Nebraska to South Carolina, there may be something close to you.

    Pro tip from Lisa: Stick to the trails and follow the preserve guidelines; these preserves have delicate ecosystems that we need your help to protect. And come prepared with gear for safely viewing the solar eclipse and be sure to check the details on individual preserve pages, not all of these preserves have facilities for visitors.

  • Eclipse 2017 © NASA

    Your one-stop site for all Eclipse 2017, from maps, images to archives of links to historical coverage of past eclipses. You can find out about citizen science opportunities, the latest astronomical research, join the flickr page and pretty much anything else you need. If you’re not in the path of the totality (or if you are and can’t get outside), NASA will be livestreaming the eclipse from sites around the country on 21 August. Download the Total Solar Eclipse App and have everything at your fingertips. All the links and information you need are here.

  • Screenshot of where eclipses will cross the Earth. (Washington Post)

    From the Washington Post. Put in the year of your birth and prepare to be amazed. (Depending on what year you’re working with, also prepare to be reminded of your mortality.) I lost six hours of my life to this mesmerizing data visualization, timeline and trip planner, and count them well spent.

    Of course, I don’t think the site was intended to be a trip planner, but that’s how I used it. I’m going to keep the number of eclipses in my future to myself, so let’s just say there’s not so many that I can afford to waste the opportunities I still have.

    Mexico 2024 is looking pretty good.

  • iNaturalist

    From the California Academy of Sciences and iNaturalist, this is the main page for the Life Responds project that is calling on citizen scientists all over the country to help answer the question: How does life respond to the dramatic event of a total solar eclipse?

    All the details you need, from how and why to participate, to what scientists will use the data for is on the site. If you’re already using iNaturalist, a special menu will dropdown on the day of the eclipse and you can enter your data. If you’re not using iNaturalist (first of all, why not?), it’s a quick download and all the instructions you need for getting ready to participate as a citizen scientist for the eclipse are clearly listed on this page.

  • Eclipse 2017 Megamovie

    A project involving Berkeley and Google and some of the world’s leading astronomers, the Eclipse MegaMovie is a citizen science project first proposed in 2011. Now in 2017, it’s become a reality. The site has everything you need to get involved, along with some excellent eclipse science explainers and a simulator that will help you see what and when the eclipse will look like in your area.

    From the site description:

    The Eclipse Megamovie Project will gather images of the 2017 total solar eclipse from over 1,000 volunteer photographers and amateur astronomers, as well as many more members of the general public. We’ll then stitch these media assets together to create an expanded and continuous view of the total eclipse as it crosses the United States. The resulting dataset will be open to the scientific community and general public for future research.

  • American Astronomical Society

    From the American Astronomical Association and the National Science Foundation, this is a detailed list of citizen science projects related to the eclipse. Think you’re ready for a do-it-yourself relativity test or to record what happens to local soundscapes during the time of the eclipse; this is for you.

    There’s also a great link with instructions on how to shoot solar eclipse images and movies. Turns out, it’s not necessarily as easy as it looks.

Cara Byington

Cara Byington is a science writer for The Nature Conservancy covering the work of Conservancy scientists and partners, including the NatureNet Fellows for Cool Green Science. A misplaced Floridian living in Maryland, she is especially fond of any story assignment involving boats and islands, and when not working, can be found hiking, kayaking or traveling with her family and friends. More from Cara

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1 comment

  1. I live on Lakeland fl and the bats r starting to come out of their boxs to feed