Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald On 2024 Eclipse and Helio Big Year Presentation

Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald On 2024 Eclipse and Helio Big Year Presentation

Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald Involved with 2024 Eclipse and Helio Big Year Presentation

For the April 8, 2024 eclipse, Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the New Mexico Consortium, traveled to a ranch outside Austin, Texas where she gave an evening pre-eclipse presentation, and before and during the eclipse presented educational and outreach activities to kids and other interested participants.

Dr. MacDonald presents at Big Dog Ranch for the 2024 Eclipse.

MacDonald’s presentation to a crowd of about 150 attendees at Big Dog Ranch, was on various citizen science projects anyone could assist with while viewing the eclipse. These included:

  • Globe Observer to investigate eclipse impacts on the physical environment
  • Eclipse Soundscapes to investigate eclipse impacts on life (bugs, animals and people)
  • SunSketcher to investigate the shape of the Sun using the moon as reference
  • Eclipse Megamovie to investigate the dynamics of the Sun’s plasma plumes, which are only visible in a total eclipse.

Each of these citizen science projects involved a participant submitting their data via an app downloaded via their phone, or downloading over social media or on a website.

Fun education and outreach activities all about the eclipse!

Before and during the eclipse, MacDonald engaged with the young people attending this event and involved them with children’s books about solar eclipses, and activities such as using a pinhole viewer, investigating eclipse shadows, viewing the eclipse through colander shadows, and creating your own eclipse using Oreo cookies!

And last, Dr. MacDonald is scheduled to give a presentation Wednesday April 10th at 7pm at The University of Texas at Dallas School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

This talk, titled “From the Eclipse to the Aurora: Ways to Join in the Helio Big Year” will be about how the Helio Big Year is an event like no other, celebrating solar eclipses, solar maximum, and the Parker Solar Probe’s closest approach to the Sun. The public are invited to participate in doing NASA science throughout 2024. This public talk will share ways to take a Heliophysics journey, from wherever you are.

Top photo from left to right: Elizabeth MacDonald of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Carrie Talus of the New Mexico Consortium, and Laura Peticolas from Sonoma State University.