University of Alabama Students launching balloon during solar eclipse

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — On Monday afternoon, millions will have their eyes to the sky to view the total solar eclipse.  The event is especially significant for a group of University of Alabama students.

Seven students plan to launch a balloon to live stream a video of the solar eclipse. The project is part of a nation-wide science project led by NASA. Student Evan Terry said the small group is learning how to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real-world problem.

“The whole team, we are very excited,” Terry said. “The eclipse is a huge event and none of us have seen a total eclipse before. So, we are really looking forward to that.”

Similar to a weather balloon, the UA balloon should rise 100,000 feet in the air, high enough to see the curvature of the Earth, and send live video of the eclipse to a website as part of the NASA Space Grant network’s Eclipse Ballooning Project.

Engineering student Haley Miller says the balloon will carry two cameras, one pointed at the ground to capture the moon’s shadow and another pointed at the sun.

“I’ve always wanted to build things that go into space and this is the edge of space, so it’s really exciting for me,” Miller said.

The UA students will launch the balloon during the eclipse from the Oliver C. Dawson Bulldog Stadium at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The eclipse begins at 1:14 p.m. Eastern time and ends at 4:07 p.m. The total eclipse portion is from 2:43-2:45 p.m.

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