Goal of the Project
The primary goal of the Eclipse Megamovie Project 2017 was to produce a high definition, time-expanded, video of the total solar eclipse that crossed North America from the northwest to the southeast on August 21, 2017. The Megamovie video was pieced together from images collected by citizen scientists at various points along the eclipse path. This provided a continuous dataset that far exceeded what any one person could capture from a single location. We learned many lessons from the Eclipse Megamovie 2017 project, including a better understanding of what is required for high definition, and beautiful images of the solar corona." With our new knowledge in hand, we are ready to initiate Eclipse Megamovie 2024 (EM2024). The goals of EM2024 are to characterize transient plasma features in the solar corona while improving the quality of the Eclipse Megamovie aesthetically.
Expected Science Discoveries
The Eclipse Megamovie Project will add a new dimension to our studies of the Sun’s faint outer atmosphere – the corona. By stitching together thousands of images of the solar corona taken along the path of totality in 2024, we will deepen our understanding and build on the unique treasure-trove of coronal images collected in 2017. This new dataset, which will be gathered during a period of magnetic activity for the Sun, may provide key information on how the corona changes over time. Together with NASA satellite missions and the National Science Foundation’s ground-based observatories, this multidimensional dataset will enrich our knowledge of the Sun’s dynamic atmosphere. The data gathered via the Eclipse Megamovie Project are made available publicly and are expected to help scientists analyze the Sun’s corona for many years to come. Furthermore, by comparing data from 2017 with the data collected in 2024, there is the potential to not only show how the Sun changes over a few hours, but also to explore differences after a period of seven years.
Photo by James McClean, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
In 2011, Dr. Hugh Hudson from the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, led a group of well-established solar scientists and educators, including renowned solar eclipse expert Dr. Jay Pasachoff, in proposing the idea of the Eclipse Megamovie Project (Hudson et al. 2011). From this beginning, the basic idea of the project has always been “to incorporate as many images as possible [of the 2017 total solar eclipse], provided by a diverse range of observers using standard photographic techniques, into an overview movie.” The idea of the Megamovie has now been discussed by many other members of the astronomy community; out of these discussions the current team was formed.