Urban STEM Center part of nationwide eclipse community science project



The Urban STEM Center in the LeBron James Family Foundation School of Education in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences was chosen as one of 19 organizations located in the U.S. within the path of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse to participate in a national community science project. Called Einstein's Incredible Universe, the program is designed to create interest in space science and spark scientific curiosity in lifelong learners by way of a media and education program produced and distributed by Cosmic Picture.

This community science project also includes an opportunity to participate in the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast (DEB) Initiative, which is a nationwide citizen science project that equips participants like the Urban STEM Center with the technology and resources to capture and broadcast solar images during the 2024 total solar eclipse. This work, executed by DEB and Cosmic Picture and funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, will ultimately allow scientific analysis of the sun’s inner corona. 

Dr. Gary Holliday, professor, and Karen Plaster, professor of practice, began professional development training on space science and project-specific data collection at a two-day workshop at the Great Lakes Science Center, home of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center in Cleveland, in November 2023. While there, they learned how to record the solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024, with a telescope and other equipment provided by the project.

This spring, they begin training education students to use the data gathering equipment and will be actively involved in doing that on the day of the eclipse along the path of totality to capture the images.

"As one of 19 sites selected along the solar eclipse path, this is a unique opportunity to involve our students in gathering data for the solar eclipse. They will gain invaluable insights from this first-hand experience and apply them to engage their future students in other citizen scientist activities,” said Plaster.  

“We have started reaching out to students who may be working with middle level students in the future,” said Holliday. “These students will also be trained to use the data gathering equipment and will be actively involved in doing that on the day of the eclipse."

Bob Baer, co-lead of Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Planning for Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale and co-PI of the DEB Initiative, remarked, “Collaborating with the Einstein’s Incredible Universe project allows us to extend DEB programming to new places and enable important new scientific contributions to our understanding of the sun’s atmosphere. We hope the project will excite these young people about scientific investigation and encourage them to continue exploring space science long after the eclipse.”

Einstein’s Incredible Universe is a major media and education program produced and distributed by Cosmic Picture and funded in part by the National Science Foundation. The centerpiece of the project is a 2D/3D film for IMAX®- and giant-screen theaters featuring the great discoveries of Albert Einstein and modern astrophysicists who are putting his groundbreaking theories to the test. It also includes an array of education and engagement efforts, including the citizen science activities tied to the total solar eclipse.

View national press release.