Central Ohio students, mentors plan trip to view eclipse

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COLUMBUS (WCMH)– Telescopes will be positioned across the country to capture thousands of images of the Great American Eclipse.

Two dozen Central Ohio students and a group of mentors will be traveling to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to view the event from a point directly in the path of totality that begins over Lincoln Beach, Oregon, a little north of Newport, extending to Charleston, South Carolina, before exiting the continent.

In the Columbus area, a little more than 86 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon’s shadow at 2:30 p.m. on the afternoon of August 21. The partial eclipse will commence at 1:04 p.m. and conclude at 3:52 p.m. (U.S. Naval Observatory).

The local students represent one of 52 student-scientist teams participating in a NASA project, collecting weather data when daylight turns to dusk.

The students will be collecting observations as the temperature drops between five and 15 degrees. Students will also conduct balloon experiments in 14 states along the 70-mile-wide path of totality and live-stream the relatively rare cosmic event.

Jeremy Funk, mentor and an engineer at the Department of Defense, said, “This is our video camera and it allows us to send and receive real-time video from 80,000 feet as the eclipse occurs.”

The students involved in the project will submit their data to NASA and analyze their findings, coming up with their own conclusions about temperature, wind speed, and barometric pressure patterns.

“We’ve been working on this for 16 months,” said Michael Funk, one of the students participating in the project. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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