Solar Eclipse: GLOBE Observer
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Solar Eclipse: GLOBE Observer

Citizen Science is a collaboration between scientists and people who are curious or concerned about the world around them and are motivated to make a difference. Anyone can participate, and the data collected by citizen scientists help scientists come to real conclusions. For scientists who study the sun, a solar eclipse is a rare opportunity to do research. The Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024, is a perfect opportunity to assist with sun research through citizen science. 

One citizen science opportunity is the special Eclipse Challenge from the GLOBE Observer project. GLOBE Observer is an app that allows users to collect date to track changes to the environment. This information supports earthy system science research. Citizen scientists use the GLOBE observer app to document and submit data on clouds, mosquito habitats, land cover and trees.

These types of observations can be done throughout the year and not just when an eclipse occurs. The app guides data collection to ensure accurate, reliable measurements – this means that users can feel confident about their submissions. Additionally, each GLOBE protocol has a brief in-app training that users can complete before their first submission. 

Occasionally, GLOBE will have a special challenge for users, and the Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024, is one such challenge. The energy from our sun warms the planet, and changes in sunlight can cause changes in temperature, clouds, and wind. An eclipse is the perfect time to study these changes. With the information submitted by citizen scientists, researchers hope to find out how the eclipse affects solar-powered processes.

To participate: 

  • You will need a smartphone with the GLOBE Observer app (available for free in the app store) downloaded 
  • You will need a thermometer to measure air temperature 
  • You will need to be in a location where the eclipse is visible. Plano is in the zone of totality for this eclipse 
  • Document your observation site, record the air temperature and observe the cloud cover. More details on using the GLOBE Eclipse tool can be found on the GLOBE Observer website 

Celebrate the eclipse at the library! All five Plano locations will have eclipse programming from 1 pm to 2 pm the day of the eclipse. Interested in participating in the GLOVE Eclipse Citizen Science project? Swing by the citizen science table to pick up a notes sheet and an ‘I’m a Citizen Scientist’ sticker. 

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