Getting a job at NASA is no walk in the park, but contributing to its upcoming science experiment could be just that easy. While we can’t all be astronauts or rocket scientists, we can download NASA’s new GLOBE Observer Eclipse app and record data during the upcoming full solar eclipse. The natural phenomenon, slated to take place on August 21, 2017, is expected to be one of the largest in recent memory, and will actually be the first time Americans will be able to see such an eclipse since 1979. Heralded as the “Great American Total Eclipse,” it’ll be visible to the residents of 14 states — 12 will be in the direct path of the eclipse, while two will catch the edge.
And if you’re one of those people, NASA wants your help. “The public will have an opportunity to participate in a nationwide science experiment by collecting cloud and temperature data from their phones,” the space agency announced. “NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program Observer (NASA GO) is a citizen science project that allows users to record observations with a free app.”
That app, the GLOBE Observer Eclipse app, can be used by the layman to “observe how the eclipse changes atmospheric conditions near them, and contribute to a database used by students and scientists worldwide in order to study the effects of the eclipse on the atmosphere.” All you need is your smartphone and a thermometer, and you can participate in a nationwide science experiment, and sort of call yourself a part of NASA.
So what’s the point of the experiment? While scientists are well aware that temperature and cloud conditions change quickly during an eclipse, and that animals suddenly tone down their volume during such an event, it’s unclear why or how. As such, they’re on a mission to collect as much data from all over the country as possible. So regardless of whether you’re in one of the 12 states in the direct path of the eclipse, or in one of the two fringe states, NASA wants you to download the GLOBE Observer app, sign up for a free GLOBE account, and be ready to go outside next month with your smartphone and a thermometer.
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