We enjoyed the eclipse and were pleased that so many people sent us great data collected during the event. Leading up to the eclipse, we encouraged science teachers to experience the eclipse from the path of totality, using the slogan, “The difference between a total eclipse and a partial eclipse is night and day.” Our employees were even given the day off to travel to the path of totality, as our office was only at 99 percent totality. We distributed and sold tens of thousands of eclipse glasses to ensure people could safely view the eclipse. In our previous newsletter (published just before the eclipse) we asked teachers to record and share with us data on the physical parameters (light level, UV intensity, temperature, etc.) observed during the eclipse.
Vernier helped sponsor a project to reproduce the Eddington experiment, which was an important verification of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. This group was headed up by Toby Dittrich, of Portland Community College, in Portland, Oregon. While the preliminary results of this experiment are promising, the final analysis is not yet complete, and we will provide further follow up in a later newsletter.
As part of this experiment, here is a photo with several overlapping exposures of different lengths. It includes marks around stars that are visible near the Sun. The bending of light waves is what the Eddington experiment measured and can be seen in the very tiny changes in the positions of these stars.
Dave Vernier submitted an article, “Data Collection During the Great American Eclipse”, to The Physics Teacher, and it was published in their December 2017 issue. The article includes data collected by many teachers around the country and by Vernier employees. Our extensive eclipse campaign also won an excellence award from One Planet.
Mark your calendar for next total solar eclipse in the U.S. on April 8, 2024!