Help NASA Study Eclipses With These Citizen Science Projects (Updated)

Narration: Lacey Young


Did you know that you can participate in solar eclipse science with NASA?

NASA's citizen science projects are collaborations between scientists and members of the public, no matter your citizenship.

Liz MacDonald: "The general public is best suited for these kinds of projects because they will be on the ground over the whole path. And that really can be kind of a force multiplier for how many observations you can take."

Several volunteer science projects are gearing up for the 2024 total solar eclipse that you can join!

Liz MacDonald: "There are many mysteries that come about during a total solar eclipse, ranging from the part of the Sun that we can very rarely see, the corona, and the birth of the solar wind really close to the surface of the Sun, as well as the effects on Earth."

Using telescopes and cameras that are safe for viewing the Sun, volunteer scientists across North America will capture images of the total solar eclipse. Scientists will study these images in detail, tracking how plumes of solar material move through the Sun's atmosphere.

But be careful – without proper tools and techniques, you can damage your eyes and your camera.

Amateur, or “ham,” radio operators will send radio messages to one another during the eclipse to see how changes in the upper

atmosphere distort radio signals.

Liz MacDonald: "The opportunity to conduct research and participate in citizen science during the upcoming total solar eclipse is really special. The Sun is always changing, so, we don't know what it's going to be doing right at that time."

As the Moon blocks one portion of the Sun, it can make other portions easier to see. Working with local scientists at an observatory in Southern California, participants will observe magnetic hotspots on the Sun as the Moon passes over them, revealing details they normally can't detect.

Liz MacDonald: "We have a public who's interested in different aspects of heliophysics and can actually contribute to our science, and so we really invite people to participate and we need all hands on deck for that."

Follow @DoNASAScience on X and Facebook to see how you can get involved in NASA's citizen science.