Pitt Shadow Bandits ready to launch balloon during solar eclipse
A group of University of Pittsburgh students, faculty and staff is ready for an up-close and personal look at the total solar eclipse — and shadow bands — next week.
The Pitt Shadow Bandits leave Friday for Tennessee where the group's members will prepare to launch a high-altitude balloon during the eclipse as part of NASA's nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project.
The Shadow Bandits hope to live-stream their balloon's flight on the project's site .
"We're sending up a bunch of video cameras and will take images and videos of the eclipse to try to get more information on this and we're also sending up light sensors," Marshall Hartman, a Pitt grad and member of the team, said in a video about the project.
The light sensors will help the team detect shadow bands, ribbons of light and dark that are visible during an eclipse.
The Pitt team tested their balloon and payload a month ago at the Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park.
The team will launch their balloon on Aug. 21 from a spot just north of Springfield, Tenn. They are expecting to see the moon completely block the sun for 2 minutes and 37 seconds starting at 2:26 p.m. Pittsburgh time.
Pitt will host a viewing of the team's live stream from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Thornburgh Room at the Hillman Library. The university will also have an eclipse viewing party from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the Hillman Library Plaza.
Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.