Total Eclipse of the Sun #435

August 18, 2017

On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse is going to appear, visible to most of the continent of North America. Bethany is very, very excited. What's going to happen, and what are scientists doing to take advantage of the event? Bethany Brookshire starts with a primer on the upcoming eclipse with Lisa Grossman, astronomy writer at Science News, then discusses three eclipse-related citizen science projects that need data: Smithsonian Astrophysicist Trae Winter tells us about the Eclipse Soundscapes project; Morrison Planetarium Senior Presenter Elise Ricard discusses the Life Responds project; and University of Massachusetts Assistant Professor of Engineering Kiersten Kirby-Patel talks about the EclipseMob Experiment. It's not too late, and you don't need to be under totality to make your eclipse count!

This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.

Related Links


  • Lisa Grossman
  • Trae Winter
  • Elise Ricard
  • Kiersten Kirby-Patel

Guest Bios

Lisa Grossman

Lisa Grossman is the astronomy writer for Science News. Previously she was a news editor at New Scientist, where she ran the physical sciences section of the magazine for three years. Before that, she spent three years at New Scientist as a reporter, covering space, physics and astronomy. She has a degree in astronomy from Cornell University and a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz. Lisa was a finalist for the AGU David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism and received the Institute of Physics/Science and Technology Facilities Council physics writing award. She interned at Science News in 2009-2010. She lives in Boston with her husband, her toddler and a dark matter cat.

Trae Winter

Henry "Trae" Winter III is an astrophysicist working for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). He has worked on eight NASA missions observing the Sun with varied duties such as designing optics, analyzing complex data sets, instrument calibration, planning observations, and designing software to automatically detect features in big data streams. His primary research focus is improving computer simulations to explore how energy is released in the Sun's atmosphere, the corona, and in other stars. He also designs video wall exhibits that bring the wonder and beauty of the Sun and the universe to public. His exhibits have been featured at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Harvard Art Museums’ Lightbox Gallery.

Elise Ricard

Elise Ricard is currently a Senior Presenter at the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences. She has a diverse background in museums including education and collections care.

Kiersten Kirby-Patel

Kiersten Kirby-Patel is an assistant professor of engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her research activities in applied electromagnetics are united by an emphasis on theoretical analysis that leads to design-level engineering insight. She has active projects focused on EBG-backed low-profile antenna design and analysis techniques, application of estimation theory to link signature keying security, and crowdsourced measurement of LF wave propagation during the upcoming 2017 solar eclipse.