NASA plans to send massive balloons to livestream solar eclipse
United Kingdom/Europe, August 19: The solar eclipse which would be seen next week will be streamed live online for the first time in the history. Starting from the vantage point of helium-filled balloons across the United States, providing the audience with sky-high views as the moon blocks the sun.
A team of researchers from Montana State University has collaborated with NASA to take part in the Space Grant Ballooning Project to dispatch more than 50 high-altitude balloons 80,000 feet (24,384 meters) up. It would be done to capture the solar eclipse as it crosses the country on August 21.
Cassandra Runyon, director of the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium, said at a test launch on Thursday that “We would take a glance over the variations from coast to coast to see what the eclipse does over landscapes. during the eclipse, the moon would pass between the sun and the Earth from west to east, and cast a shadow on Earth.
Meanwhile, on the east coast of Harleston, South Carolina, the last location in the United States which the eclipse would pass. Cassandra Runyon and her team of professors and students would launch balloons from a United States Coast Guard boat 5-6 nautical miles (9 km to 11 km) offshore. The shadow of the eclipse is was expected to move at 2,000 miles per hour in Oregon and slower down to 1,500 miles per hour in South Carolina.
The balloons, around 9 feet (2.7 m) tall when filled with helium, would be equipped with high-definition video cameras, still cameras and computers. The launch would be from around 50 U.S. locations and send the images back to Earth. Enough helium would be filled in the balloons to raise them roughly 1,000 feet per minute reaching an altitude of 80,000 feet.
With the use of a ground station antenna, the team members on land could live stream the video online at https://stream.live/.
Angela des Jardins, director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium at the Montana State University said that “It is very effective to have that off-the-earth perspective. She added that it would be the first time in the history that a solar eclipse would be streamed online. Angela des Jardins said that the project would grant the scientists to study the sun’s corona and the lunar orbit, giving a practical experience for students and making it a huge scientific event accessible to the public. The Aug. 21 event would mark the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere in the lower 48 states since 1979.