Eclipse photographyEclipses explainedUSA 2017

What is the Eclipse Megamovie Project?

Citizen scientists will send in photos of the Total Solar Eclipse to create a continuous view of Totality as it crosses the USA.

Will you be photographing the eclipse? If so, you can help produce a high definition, time-expanded video of the entire event – and crowdsource the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the solar corona.

The geography of August 21’s eclipse make it very special for scientists. Since 71% of our planet is ocean, eclipses usually occur mostly – or completely – over water. Usually eclipse-chasers and astronomers have to congregate on cruise ships or on specks of land to view it, and consequently the photographs are broadly similar.

That’s distinctly not the case with the eclipse track on August 21, 2017, which crosses from the northwest to southeast coasts of the USA in a little over 90 minutes.

Headed-up by University of California Berkeley and Google, the Eclipse Megamovie Project is citizen science at its best; organisers are aiming for over 1,000 volunteers to sign-up, pinpoint their location on a Google Map, then send in their photos of Totality. Those images will then be digitally stitched together to create a continuous view of the total eclipse as it crosses the USA.

The finished video will hopefully show how the solar corona changes over time, which is poorly understood by astronomers, and yet to be studied in visible light. As well as studying how the corona changes over a few hours, it will also be possible to see how it changes over seven years; the Eclipse Megamovie Project will return when another Total Solar Eclipse crosses the US in 2024.

Photo credit: Jay Pasachoff / Allen Davis / Vojtech Rusin / Miloslav Druckmüller