UMaine Students Participating in Great American Eclipse Project

Published: Aug. 14, 2017 at 4:04 PM EDT
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On Thursday, a group of UMmaine Engineering students and staff are travelling to Clemson University to take part in the Great American Eclipse Project.

They'll join 54 other teams from around the nation in launching high altitude balloons next Monday, providing live stream aerial footage of the solar eclipse to NASA's website.

The balloons will travel about 110,000 feet up, giving viewers a high in the sky look at the shadow going across the earth.

Monday morning, the group did a final practice run.

"This is awesome," says Cameron Sullivan a sophomore majoring in computer engineering at UMaine. "I mean, we've been working all summer trying to get this live video going. We've been working with the electronics, the mechanical parts trying to get the payload boxes ready. We've been doing launches trying to get ready."

"The general public can go to and just pick a balloon and see what the view looks like from that balloon," says Rick Eason, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Umaine. "The objective is more to capture the balloon's shadow going across the earth rather than looking at the sun itself because these balloons move around quite a bit."

The balloons will be launched one-by-one ahead of the eclipse's path, starting in Idaho.

The UMaine group's balloons will be among the last ones released.