Making an Eclipse Megamovie in 2017?

If you live in the continental US and you want to see a solar eclipse then Monday 21st August 2017 may be your lucky day. The path of totality will stretch narrowly across around 11 states from Oregon to South Carolina, and the rest of North America will see a partial eclipse instead.

The combination of location and probable good weather means this eclipse is likely to be seen by many thousands of people. People with digital cameras. Pretty good digital cameras with reasonable optics and CCDs. What if all those pictures could be collected and combined together? Well, that’d give some lucky solar physicists a massive, long, high-resolution, continuous movie of the solar corona, showing in detail how it evolves over the 90 minutes totality lasts over the US. It’d also be a pretty good outreach project too, with many opportunities for getting the public involved.

This is the thinking behind the Eclipse Megamovie, first put forward at the American Astronomical Society meeting in June and followed up last week in a paper published on the astronomy preprint server. The project is still very much in the planning stage, with many issues still to be sorted out (including the technical difficulties associated with handling, processing and combining the flood of data involved), but it’s an interesting idea, and one I hope to hear a lot more about over the next few years.

More info on the 2017 eclipse can be found at
or in the paper itself.

ResearchBlogging.orgHugh S. Hudson, Scott W. McIntosh, Shadia R. Habbal, Jay M. Pasachoff, & Laura Peticolas (2011). The U.S. Eclipse Megamovie in 2017: a white paper on a unique outreach event arXiv arXiv: 1108.3486v1

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