Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Event at The University of Toledo: My Personal Experience

The first time I have ever witnessed a solar eclipse was on March 29, 2006, in the southwestern part of Nigeria. As an undergraduate student who majored in Geography, I was curious to know how the celestial event would happen. Indeed, I was able to witness the partial solar eclipse which was an awe-inspiring celestial event, but was not opportune to study the effect of the unique phenomena on my local environment. When I read online late last year that the total solar eclipse will pass through Toledo, Ohio in the United States where I reside presently, I thought this might be a rare opportunity once again to observe the astronomical event and explore the wonder and amazement associated with it.

As a graduate student at the University of Toledo, and a research assistant with GLOBE Mission Earth (GME): (a UToledo-led NASA-funded program) domiciled at the Department of Geography and Planning, I was engaged in the Eclipse Viewing Event, organized by the University of Toledo. GME was part of the presenters with a presentation stand at the heart of our campus on Centennial Mall for this festive atmosphere.

Photo credit: Kingsley, UT.                                            Photo credit: Femi, UT.

GLOBE Mission Earth, Eclipse Presentation Stand.

Once again, I saw another opportunity to do what I couldn’t do while I experienced my first solar eclipse viewing. For years, GLOBE Mission Earth, at the University of Toledo, has been studying the influence of solar eclipses on weather changes, using a citizen science approach. This year was not an exception. GLOBE equipment was loaned to the guest volunteers (students, visitors on campus and faculty) who helped to collect surface and air temperatures using handheld thermometers. The clouds were also observed using GLOBE Cloud Windows developed by NASA Langley Research Center. All these observations and measurements were taken before and after the solar eclipse event to see if there were any changes to surface, air, and cloud observations. 

It was interesting to see the data I collected through the GLOBE Observer app that indicated a significant drop of 12 Celsius in the air temperature before, during, and after the solar eclipse.

Photo credit: GLOBE Observer App                             Photo credit: Esther, UT

The first picture shows the GLOBE Observer App graph showing air temperature before, during, and after the Solar Eclipse in Toledo. The second picture shows the total eclipse on the University of Toledo Campus. In addition, this summer, I will be working with NASA-SEES students who will be doing some research on the Effects of Solar Eclipse on Weather Changes across the United States. This project will take up to 6 weeks and I look forward to an interesting presentation from the NASA-SEES students.


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