I'm a research scientist at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, CO and astronomer by training. For the last few years, I've worked on a compact imaging polarimeter and investigated various applications of this technology/instrument. In the past, I've had to make these sensors myself, but now Sony sells commercial sensors with polarization capability on-chip. I am working on a proposal to the National Science Foundation to use these instruments to observe the total solar eclipse of 8 April 2024. I've observed the 2017 eclipse using a similar system from Madras, OR. This time, I would like to build 6 robotic observing suites and distribute them along the path of totality. I would like to have 4 sites in the US and 2 sites in Mexico. The technical details of the observing suites are below. In the US, I would like these sites to be run by high school teachers from towns along the path of totality - the idea is to have very little travel for the teachers and students, and the ability to setup the systems long before the day of the eclipse. At the end of the campaign, the high schools will be able to keep the systems and use them as they wish. Some key take-aways are below:
Why do this?
- A solar eclipse is a great opportunity to engage the public in scientific research
- Polarimetry of the corona and the sky foreground probes several interesting aspects of the solar and terrestrial atmosphere
- multi-site observations allow us to look at the temporal evolution of the corona throughout the eclipse and to study the effects of local environment on the sky polarization
What gear is involved?
Paramount MYT Tripod
Paramount MYT Mount
Takahashi FSQ-85EDX (Narrow Field Telescope)
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM (Wide Field Telescope)
2x Sony IMX250P sensor cameras (probably cooled QHY550P)
2x ZWO EFWmini
Chroma filters - B, V, R
DSLR Lens USB controller
Plates, Rings, Etc.
I'm reaching out to you fine folks because I am trying to spread the word about this project and recruit the right teachers and volunteer amateur astronomers.
If anyone here has worked with high schools or high school teachers before, and think they may be a good candidate for this, please encourage them to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some links to an informational flyer and a 2-page white paper that describes this work:
White Paper - https://www.dropbox...._short.pdf?dl=0