September 1, 2017Deborah Staber, L.C. Bates Museum
Since early 2017, with the help of the NISE Net's Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit, the L.C.Bates Museum introduced the solar eclipse science to thousands of people and distributed over 3,000 pairs of solar eclipse glasses. The solar eclipse brought over 500 people to the museum and its lawn to look at the solar eclipse through glasses and filtered telescopes. Children engaged in sun activities including those from the Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit, making solar prints, applying temporary tattoos, and experimenting with UV beads. School field trips, summer astronomy camps, Earth and Space activity days and ongoing solar viewing prepared visitors for the eclipse. The museum was pleased to have clear skies and the lawns full of excited families watching the eclipse.
After the eclipse, we received many emails and notes from people who had been given glasses. All expressed their delight with seeing the eclipse. Visitors given glasses earlier emailed how they were pleased to have and in most cases share the glasses with neighbors who could not get them. One person talked about how she delighted neighborhood children by sharing her glasses and thanked us for the glasses.
The L.C. Bates Museum's Earth to Sky Calculus Maine Hub sent a team of citizen scientists to Wyoming to send up a high altitude balloon that measured radiation and other changes during the eclipse and took photographs. The balloon was recovered in Nebraska and will be used for quarterly balloon launches in Maine and hopefully for the 2024 solar eclipse here in Maine. A volunteer on the citizen science team said "I learned so much about the sun and seeing the total eclipse was the most incredible natural experience I will ever have."
Photo above: Moon shadow on Earth
Photo above: High altitude balloon breaking apart