Watching the Solar Eclipse From Above And Below

Next week, when all eyes are on a rare solar eclipse, some students from the University of Maine will have their sights set even higher.

They'll be sending a high altitude balloon into space to see the eclipse from the above – and you can watch it, too.

The balloon will have a camera to livestream the total solar eclipse, and will be available on NASA's website Monday.

UMaine engineering students Derek Haas and Cameron Sullivan will be traveling with Professor Rick Eason to Clemson University in South Carolina, to be in position to see the total eclipse.

"I think it's going to be something really spectacular," said Haas.

A total of 55 teams will be launching balloons across the country, and the NASA website will allow viewers to choose different balloons to view.

The UMaine students started assembling the technology in the beginning of the summer, and have been putting in long hours to test launch and trouble shoot in the weeks leading up to the eclipse.

"When you're working on the mechanics, things can get frustrating, but then once it does work and you're watching the view from 100,000 feet up, it's amazing," said Sullivan.

Professor Rick Eason said the students are gaining valuable problem-solving skills, on a real-world problem, they would not ordinarily get in a classroom.

When they get the live stream up and running, Eason said it will be a major accomplishment.

"The ability to send this much data, from that distance — we're right on the edge of what can be done," said Eason.

Click here to view the livestream.

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