On August 21st, a solar eclipse will cross the continental United States for the first time in almost a century. For about 90 minutes, the sun will be blocked completely as the eclipse starts in Oregon, loops southeast, and ends around South Carolina.


While Philadelphia will get a partial view of the eclipse, some Owls will not just observe the full eclipse as it travels, they'll help NASA livestream it. Four members of the College of Engineering's Class of 2017 will be in Kentucky on the 21st with a high-altitude balloon and camera to shoot the eclipse about 90,000 feet above sea level. The group is part of a NASA consortium from schools across the country helping to broadcast the eclipse as it happens.

Led by Dr. John Helferty, the group of Edward MacMurchy, Michael Mazzanti, Abby Sydnes, and Dmitry Yarmaliuk devised the single-camera payload to follow the eclipse from near-space heights while the team controls it from the ground. Developed with NASA funding, the group successfully tested their camera in April miles in the atmosphere. The months of work paid off as the team set a new ballooning mark with their test and won the Spring 2017 Senior Design competition.

Click here to watch the NASA livestream of the eclipse.

- Marco Cerino