A-State students prepare for 2024 solar eclipse

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With much of the nation expected to see an out-of-this-world experience in 2024, many schools are preparing, including in Northeast Arkansas.

On average, there are three to five solar eclipses across the world. The last one in the United States was in 2017.

“Weather is affected by the day and night cycle, suddenly we have something like night racing across Earth,” said Dr. Ross Carollm, a professor of physics at Arkansas State.

Dr. Carroll and his students are researching what changes are taking place in the atmosphere during the eclipse.

His class was able to successfully launch a research balloon in 2017. Not only did they live stream the eclipse, but they gathered atmospheric information while it was happening.

“What we noticed is that there is that dip in temperature and the winds are affected by this ultimately,” Dr. Carroll said.

The program is currently supported by NASA, and Dr. Carroll is using it to get students prepared to work in space science and other related fields.

“We can get them into an internship at NASA, or one of these science and technology facilities or a big organization that is tackling these interdisciplinary problems,” he said.

His team set up at a high school during the 2017 eclipse, but it did not work out well.

“We did not anticipate that our live stream would be affected by the heating and air conditioning unit at a school we were at,” Carroll said.

In 2024, he is going to position at the top of Petit Jean Mountain to get a better vantage point and cut down on the number of things that could go wrong.

These students will be given the opportunity to have their hard work broadcast across the world.

“What we are hoping to get out of this is that our students, get their work, out on the NASA website, and millions of people watch it live,” Carroll said.