Gannon University Students Prepare for Historic NASA-Funded Solar Eclipse Research

Posted: June 16, 2017

On June 20 at 12:25 p.m., a team of Gannon students and faculty will conduct a trial run to prepare for the historic research project that will return the first-ever livestreamed video of the solar eclipse in August.

The team of undergraduate students led by Wookwon Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Nick Conklin, Ph.D., associate professor of physics, will test, via a tethered balloon launch, a package of instruments that they designed and built that will ascend to 80,000 feet via high-altitude balloon as part of a nationwide project funded by NASA.

As part of the Eclipse Ballooning Project, the Gannon team is part of a select group of 55 colleges and universities nationwide and three from Pennsylvania selected to conduct balloon flights from about 25 locations across the total eclipse path.

The teams from across the country will livestream footage of the total solar eclipse, in which the moon will entirely block the sun for approximately two minutes on a path progressing from the Pacific coast in Oregon (1:17 p.m. PCT) to the Atlantic coast in South Carolina (2:47 p.m. EST).

The eclipse is expected to be the most-witnessed natural event of the year and perhaps of all time.