On Monday, August 21st millions of American were treated to a rare event: the total eclipse of the sun. It’s the first time in nearly a century that the eclipse was visible from the Pacific to the Atlantic, but the last total eclipse seen anywhere in the US took place in 1979. If you missed the solar eclipse, you can catch another one on April 8th, 2024.
The American solar eclipse had everyone scrambling to find viewing glasses and there were lots of eclipse parties being planned. In addition to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” reaching astronomical popularity, Google also announced that it was looking to make a big impact with a new eclipse megamovie. In partnership with researchers from the University of California Berkeley, Google plans to make a continuous view of the eclipse using photographs and videos from around the country.
This isn’t just a crowd sourced fad for social media likes. “The resulting dataset will be open to the scientific community and general public for future research,” says a Google spokesperson. This information is vital to scientists because it will help answer questions about the sun’s atmosphere and allow solar astronomers to better predict changes in the solar cycle.
According to a report on Tech Radar, Google has already enlisted 1,000 volunteer photographers. The tech company is also asking for the participation of everyday photographers and videographers from across the country. Never before have so many images from various smartphones, tablets and cameras been brought to bear on one single event. Hence the name – megamovie.
The goal of this ambitious project is to make a video that looks like someone raced around the world to keep the eclipse in view for the duration of the celestial event. To achieve this goal, Google apps for Android and iOS platforms will help you find the best viewing locations and make uploading your footage easier than snapping a sun selfie. The Eclipse Megamovie 2017 is an entirely crowd-sourced timelapse experience that will be available for viewing as soon as August 22nd.