My wife and I were discussing the eclipse –her two-and-a-half year old Montessori students had been excited about it!– and wondered if animal behavior was being tracked.
So it was a pleasant surprise when I saw Ruben Gameros’ post today on FB about his participating in the Purdue University ‘sonic effects’ project. Their “huge, continental scale” project was to study how animals will respond to the solar eclipse. Using acoustic sensors (from Alaska to Puerto Rico) they invited citizen scientists to collect data –acoustic behavior of birds, crickets, cicadas, and frogs.
Why record sounds? Purdue researchers are looking at if animals that are typically active during the day stop making sounds during an eclipse. Among other questions:
- Are there patterns for birds, insects, mammals, amphibians, and even fish?
- Are the changes in the circadian cycles different in coniferous forests, temperate deciduous forests, grasslands, and coastal ecosystems?
- Is there a difference in behavior in the total eclipse zone compared to areas that are in the 90%, 80%, 70% and 60% or less zones?
Caltech had a different crowd-sourced project calling for eclipse-related animal behavior. It called for young scientists to make 3 observations during the event, and record it via a special App. It was supported by a teacher webinar, and a web-chat.
I wish students across the country would have been motivated to do more than look for the umbra and penumbra. Or dodge the event, entirely. (One school I know cancelled the viewing even after they ordered glasses.)
For those of us who cannot watch the eclipse today in North America, there’s a fascinating project that would document it. Google has worked with UC Berkeley (Eclipse Megamovie) and has recruited 1,000 volunteer photographers and amateur astronomers for the event. Volunteers must download the Berkeley-created app for this.
The eclipse will last from 9.05 am Pacific, to 4.09 pm Eastern.
So for instance, in Scottsdale, Arizona (as is evident, we are outside the ‘path of totality’) the moon’s shadow will cover just of the sun. It all begins at and will continue for . Peak time of the eclipse will be .
I found it interesting to read that damage to the retina would only occur is someone looks directly at the sun before or after totality without the protective glasses. Thankfully, those who cannot watch the event live have the citizen-sourced megamovie.
Sometimes the cheapest camera does the trick.
This evening’s Blood Moon, and the lunar eclipse, was a spectacular show in our southern skies.
Not as stunning as these, however, but it could be a great lesson in photography, about how to frame a slow-moving event, and compensate for lighting. The camera was a Nikon Coolpix, which was less expensive than the lens of an older SLR. (It’s become my ‘better’ camera, especially on my recent trip to Sri Lanka, where I shot close-ups of rural life, and in the wilds. Easier to pack to the beach and on mountains hikes.)
Which brings me to the point about technology. How often does the technology get in the way of what you are experiencing or working on in the moment? Just as how we often get trapped in the software just to make a great presentation, a microphone or camera can become a distraction.
In Ed-Tech, which is what I teach, I like the focus to be more on the ‘Ed’ and less on the ‘Tech.’