Home – Here’s What Libraries Brought To The Eclipse 2017 Party

Here’s What Libraries Brought To The Eclipse 2017 Party

Posted on 08-25-2017 by Lindsey Lambert

It’s not often that college students embrace an early start to the day, but this week’s rare solar eclipse brought out the early birds at Oregon State University, which had ringside seats as the sun began its path of totality across the U.S. As one of 30 NASA Space Grant universities across the country, the university hosted a three-day eclipse celebration for the public. Despite a party-like atmosphere, the eclipse also received plenty of attention from academic researchers. A student-led team on an OSU research vessel off the Pacific Coast released a weather balloon complete with video equipment for live streaming to NASA-TV. In addition, its Center for Research of Lifelong STEM Learning collaborated with Google on the Eclipse Megamovie 2017, which had more than 1,000 volunteer photographers and amateur astronomers stationed across the nation to capture a continuous view of the eclipse.

Academic and public libraries focus on education and research

But it wasn’t just students and academic researchers in the Northwest who were eagerly donning eclipse spectacles on Monday—just take a look at NASA’s crowded map of library events in honor of the eclipse. We did a little research ourselves to find out what eclipse watchers hoped to learn during the event.

  • Following the first balloon launch by the OSU team, other teams were fanned out along the sun’s route—across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, with a final balloon launch from a Coast Guard ship in the Atlantic.
  • At the University of Missouri-Columbia, research was focused on atmospheric and temperature changes related to the eclipse, as well as a study of the sun’s inner corona by graduate researchers there.
  • Young academics were not left out. In collaboration with Webster University, the University of Missouri-Columbia installed recording devices inside bee hives in advance of the eclipse. School children will be engaged with listening to the recordings to see how an eclipse influences insect behavior.
  • At the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, some researchers left the hallowed halls of the university to visit the zoo and observe animal behaviors during the eclipse.

Of course, observation is only part of the equation when it comes to academic research. Having data and tools to uncover insights—from past news coverage of momentous events or new findings from the latest one—ensures students won’t be in the dark, no matter what topic they’re researching.

Did your library sponsor any events for Total Eclipse 2017? Let us know in the comments below.

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