Bucknell Students Set to Study Solar Eclipse

LEWISBURG  -- A group of students from Bucknell University is traveling south to see the upcoming solar eclipse for a research project.

Payton Johnson and Professor Ned Ladd looked at the sun on Friday through a telescope in Bucknell University's observatory. Soon they will be looking at something else -- the solar eclipse.

"When the moon passes in front of the sun, it blocks out the really bright part and allows us to see the halo or what is called the corona around the outer parts of the sun," said Ladd.

Professor Ladd is taking seven students south to study the solar eclipse. They will travel to either Tennessee or South Carolina. Those are the areas where the sun will be completely blocked by the moon. Where they go depends on the weather.

"We're going to decide the Friday we drive down which site we're going to go to," Johnson explained. "We will pack up the car and drive down and hopefully three days later it will be sunny."

The students will be making scientific measurements that can't be made at any other time. There is a two and a half minute window where the bright part of the sun is blocked out.

"The corona pulses at a rate of about one or two times a second. We're looking for that flickering. If we can measure it really carefully, it provides support for that particular model," Ladd said.

The students have been preparing for this all summer.

"We're going down a couple of days early so that we can get everything set up and ready and practice, hopefully, for the actual event so we can be ready when it happens," Johnson said.

The students plan to share their experiences on this blog that you can follow along with.

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