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Prepping for darkness: Scientists plan for coverage of summer ec - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Prepping for darkness: Scientists plan for coverage of summer eclipse

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Over the weekend MSU hosted a large gathering of amateur and professional scientists from all over the country learning more about the telescopes and software which will be used to track and monitor this year’s solar eclipse.

The solar eclipse will be on August 21 and scientists are now testing and synchronizing their instruments for the big day.

“We are setting up the telescopes and learning how to use the software for the experiment that we will be doing in Idaho during the total solar eclipse,” said Lynn Powers.

It’s all part of the citizen’s CATE experiment or the Citizens Continental America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment to gather rare telescopic images of the sun during the eclipse.

“This is primarily to provide solar images,” said Dr. Joseph Shaw. “Nice, up-close telescopic images of the sun and the eclipse as it goes into and comes out of eclipse.  But if you did it at any one location, you’d just have a short 2-minute duration but this will be a 90 minutes because it will be coast to coast.”

There will be multiple CATE sites along the eclipse path

“What’s really cool about the citizen’s CATE experiment is the 60 sites that are across the US during totality,” said Powers. “They are exactly identical. They have the same telescope, they have the same software, they have all the same equipment and so we are going to be able to check what’s going on with the sun and we are going to be able to see the Corona in levels we haven’t been able to see before.”

In Southwest Montana we will see a 95 percent of the eclipse, however, there is a spot on the southern tip of Montana near the state line that you will see full totality.

“You’ll be able to see a mostly solar eclipse here in Montana but to see the real thing, you’ve got to go a little bit south,” said Shaw.

The CATE experiment is being partnered with NASA and there will be workshops during the summer for kids at the Public Library in Bozeman and others around the state.  

For more information on the eclipse, check out these sites:

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