First Eclipse Megamovie to be released the evening of Aug. 21

ATTENTION: Reporters, editors covering Aug. 21 total solar eclipse

WHAT: As soon as the first images of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse are uploaded to the Eclipse Megamovie website, the project’s computer algorithms will begin assembling them into a brief movie, with plans to publish a time-lapse clip on the web by evening — the first photo compilation of an event that is riveting the nation.

Astronomer Alex Filippenko, an admitted eclipse addict, offers tips on how to observe and enjoy the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally, UC Berkeley.

The citizen science project is a collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley, and Google to archive photos of the rare event for use by scientists studying the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, which is only visible from Earth during a total solar eclipse. Some 1,500 trained volunteers will upload telephoto images taken throughout totality, as well as before and after to capture phenomena referred to as Baily’s Beads and the Diamond Ring.

But everyone is encouraged to upload images of the eclipse to the project using the Eclipse Megamovie Mobile app or through the project’s website. These photos will be archived for scientific use.

WHEN: Google engineers expect to release the first movie by early evening EDT, about six hours after the total eclipse starts in western Oregon, using the first images uploaded by Megamovie volunteers trained to capture the best images possible all along its path. The clip will be a series of still images of the total eclipse, showing the variation of the sun’s corona over time. Additional, more inclusive movies will be released later.

WHERE: The Megamovie videos will be available from the Eclipse Megamovie website. Check regularly starting at about 5 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. PDT). They will also be available, along with other resources, from the project’s dedicated media resources page (http://bitly.com/MegamoviePress).

WHO: On Monday, Aug. 21, the Eclipse Megamovie team will be in the field along the path of totality, many of them in remote areas without good cellphone or internet service. If you wish to contact them, do so well in advance:

UC Berkeley contact:

  • Robert Sanders, Media Relations: (510) 643-6998, rlsanders@berkeley.edu

Google contact:

Eclipse Megamovie 2017 team members:

  • Laura Peticolas, project director, Space Sciences Laboratory: (510) 643-6295, laura@ssl.berkeley.edu
  • Hugh Hudson, lead scientist, Space Sciences Laboratory: +44 748 247 1930, hhudson@ssl.berkeley.edu
  • Dan Zevin, project manager, Space Sciences Laboratory: (510) 642-8326, dzevin@ssl.berkeley.edu
  • Juan Carlos Martínez Oliveros, science team, Space Sciences Laboratory: (510) 642-0402, oliveros@ssl.berkeley.edu
  • Alex Filippenko, professor of astronomy, UC Berkeley: (510) 852-4829 afilippenko@berkeley.edu

OTHER RESOURCES: The Eclipse Megamovie team has assembled other useful resources for media, including quotes from team members, profiles of volunteer citizen scientists, project images, video, and links to information about eclipses in general and the 2017 eclipse in particular. To view them, link to http://bitly.com/MegamoviePress.