Teams Across CAP Collect Solar Eclipse Data for NASA
Nearly 200 Civil Air Patrol teams from across North America stepped up to collect data about the annular solar eclipse Oct. 14, including air temperature and cloud information in support of NASA’s Globe Observer citizen science project.
The project, involving 191 CAP teams in all, was designed to give students and the public the opportunity to collect data to support scientific research.
CAP members also employed the organization’s vast radio network in studying the eclipse’s effects on VHF transmission. That focus not only helped cadets explore the hidden ways solar eclipses affect the world but also encouraged over 300 members to complete the requirements to become mission radio operator trainees.
In addition to the scientific approach, many CAP teams shared their enthusiasm about the eclipse by hosting aerospace education events or participating in community viewings.
Nationwide, CAP adult members and cadets helped give more than 45,000 members of the public an opportunity to learn about solar eclipses.
Though the project originated in CAP’s Rocky Mountain Region, members in 36 wings and all regions participated.
“By creatively leveraging our people and equipment, we made a notable difference in our relationships with new partners as well as networking within our communities and showing what CAP can do,” said Col. Jason Hess, Rocky Mountain Region commander.
In the meantime, CAP members across the continent are starting to prepare for the total eclipse on April 8, 2024.
“Our initial goal was to have at least 100 teams across the nation participate in the October eclipse; that goal was far exceeded,” said Capt. Shannon Babb, eclipse mission director and the Rocky Mountain Region’s external aerospace education officer.
Babb outlined three goals for April:
- Have at least one team collect solar eclipse data in each wing.
- Create opportunities for educator members to bring the project to their classrooms.
- Train CAP members to collect more complex data.