A team of researchers is planning to stream Monday's U.S. solar eclipse live from the stratosphere. The scientists from Montana State University have partnered with NASA to send more than 50 high-altitude balloons up 80,000 feet to capture and livestream the solar eclipse as it crosses the country. Nathan Frandino reports.
On a calm summer day on the water, College of Charleston senior Sam Fink is tying up loose ends, putting the finishing touches on a project he's been working on for a year and a half. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAM FINK, SENIOR GEOLOGY MAJOR AT THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON, SAYING: "It's almost impossible to really put into words." Fink is part of the Space Grant Ballooning Project, a joint NASA and Montana State University nationwide program that will send more than 50 high-altitude balloons rigged with cameras into the sky to capture Monday's historic solar eclipse.. His team is led by Dr. Cassandra Runyon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. CASSANDRA RUNYON, DIRECTOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA SPACE GRANT CONSORTIUM, SAYING: "On eclipse day, we're going to try to reach the edge of space, which is somewhere around 90,000 feet." But before that happens, they'll head five to six nautical miles offshore. That's where they'll launch their balloons. The team did a test launch on Thursday. With the help of a helium tank, they'll send a weather balloon high into the sky. And attached to their balloon will be a 360 video camera, a still camera, and a computer to transmit the images back to Earth in real tiome. They tried it recently over Montana. The results were spectacular…but for Monday's exercise, the team will be focused on recording the speed of the eclipse's shadow, which will be moving at about 1,500 miles per hour. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. CASSANDRA RUNYON, DIRECTOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA SPACE GRANT CONSORTIUM, SAYING: "I personally can't conceive of the shadow moving almost 1,500 miles per hour. Hopefully our video camera will capture that rapid movement of the shadow." Once the balloons reach altitude in the stratosphere, the video will be streamed live, a first for an eclipse. And with that streaming, the team will reach a whole new audience.