Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

The Great American Eclipse

On August 21st, 2017, many people in the United States had their first chance in 38 years to experience a total solar eclipse. The path of totality extended all the way from Oregon to South Carolina.

We invited educators to join us as we experienced this spectacular event, as it was a wonderful opportunity to collect and share data using Vernier technology.

Sensor Data From The Eclipse

Educators from across the nation shared the data that they had collected during the eclipse using Vernier Technology. Sensors used to collect data during the eclipse include the Temperature Sensor, Light Sensor, and UVA and UVB Sensors. Check out their results below.

If you want to share your eclipse data, graphs, photos, and videos, you can submit them to us at eclipse@vernier.com

Graph of light and UV during eclipse

Benjamin Grimes, Roncalli High School, Indianapolis, IN

Benjamin Grimes of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, IN, captured data outside the zone of totality with a UVA Sensor, a UVB Sensor, and a Light Sensor.

“It really was exciting to watch the light intensity in three different ranges change as a result of both the eclipse and the cloud cover. My students had a great discussion.”

Indianapolis had about 93% of totality during the eclipse (note that none of the readings go quite to zero). Benjamin reported that he attempted to start data collection as close to noon as possible, so that time would be 0 on the graph. The maximum for the eclipse occurred at approximately 2:25 pm.

Download the Data

Experiment setup Light and temperature data during the totality

Eric Sullenberger, Perryville, MO

Eric Sullenberger captured data in Perryville, MO, in totality with a Light Sensor and a Go!Temp.

“I had the LabQuest 2 record data every 5 seconds for a little over 2.5 hours… I really regret not having an external or internal microphone record crowd noises. Dogs started barking a minute before and after totality, and the crowd was louder than I thought they would be (most were on a baseball diamond a distance behind me).”

The temperature reached a minimum a little after the eclipse. That may be because the Go!Temp sensor has a fairly thick stainless-steel case and takes a while to respond to changes in air temperature.

Download the Data

Light and UV data during the totality

Dave Vernier, Turner, OR

Dave Vernier captured data in Turner, OR, near the center of the zone of totality, with perfectly clear skies.

Compare the levels before and after the eclipse. In all cases, the levels are higher after the eclipse. Why? Since the eclipse here was total at 10:18 am (PDT), the sun was rising in the sky. It was at 41 degrees at totality, and higher after totality, so all the levels are higher, especially the UV levels.

Download the Data

Dave’s Eclipse Tips

Tip 1

Never look directly at the sun

Never look directly at the sun, except when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. During the partial phase of the eclipse, you will need glasses for viewing the sun.

Tip 2

Be in the path of totality

As the eclipse approaches totality, the brightness of the sky dims to a point where Venus and Jupiter start to become visible.

Tip 3

Collect data during the eclipse

It takes at least an hour from when the moon first starts to obscure the sun until totality. You then have the same amount of time after the eclipse until the sun is completely unblocked.

See all the eclipse tips
Dave Vernier in the Australian Outback collecting data during a 2002 total solar eclipse with a very old laptop and a PalmĀ Pilot
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