- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

GERING, Neb. (AP) - Scientists have visited a western Nebraska city to recruit volunteers to take photographs of the United States’ first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years.

Gering was visited Monday by Laura Peticolas, a senior fellow at the University of California-Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, and Chris Cable, a consultant with the laboratory’s education group Multiverse, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (https://bit.ly/2sWFyo1 ) reported.

“This area is going to see the moon completely cover the sun,” Peticolas said. “We haven’t had this type of event since 1979 in the U.S.”

The scientists are gathering volunteers to take photographs of the Aug. 21 eclipse for a video project. The 2- to 3-minute video will be pieced together with images from various points along the eclipse path.

The data will help NASA better understand the sun.

The project is seeking 1,500 volunteers with specific equipment, including a DSLR camera, a lens minimum of 300 mm, a tripod and the ability to identify GPS coordinates.

Those interested in participating must apply by July 15 and get trained. Photographers will be able to send photos into the project for a week after the eclipse.

“Either way you can contribute to the science,” Peticolas said.

The only time to view the eclipse safely without glasses is during totality. Cable said not everyone will have solar viewing glasses, but that a colander or a piece of cardboard with a hole cut into it can project the image onto the ground.

“You can even use your hands to project a shadow on the ground,” he said. “The only time you can look directly at the sun is during the very short window of totality.”

Other projects that will be occurring during the eclipse include studies of what happens to the clouds as well as how plants and animals react.

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This story has been corrected to show the scientists are recruiting volunteer photographers for the Aug. 21 eclipse, not the eclipse expected to occur in 2024.

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Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com


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