MSU Reports Success of Solar Eclipse Balloon Project
Initial results from the Montana State University Eclipse Ballooning Project have already provided detailed results, according to principal investigator Angela Des Jardins. She talked about experiments from numerous balloon teams that launched radiosonde-equipped balloons during the cross-nation solar eclipse August 21.
Des Jardins was on a panel at the American Geophysical Union's recent meeting in New Orleans. She said, "Change in the boundary layer was anticipated, but has never been measured in this level of detail before."
Des Jardins is an assistant research professor in the MSU Department of Physics and director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium. She said the consortium team, which launched 19 balloons, included students from MSU, University of Montana, Chief Dull Knife College and Miles Community College.
According to an MSU news release, those balloons recorded the "boundary layer" of Earth's atmosphere ( where absorption of sunlight by the ground generates weather) sank to a level that normally happens in early morning or late afternoon. The late morning eclipse caused the layer to sink to about 2,500 feet above the ground. Additional results are still being examined.
She also showed high altitude videos from 55 Eclipse Ballooning Project teams, using an MSU-designed camera system. Those videos were "livestreamed" on NASA's website, which experienced record-setting internet traffic during the solar event.
For more information, check the MSU news release.