EclipseMob: Initial Planning for 2024

TitleEclipseMob: Initial Planning for 2024
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKerby-Patel, KC, Lukes, L, Nelson, J, Liles, W
Conference NameHamSCI Workshop
Date Published03/2020
Conference LocationScranton, PA

During the lead up to the 2017 Solar Eclipse and its aftermath, the EclipseMob team learned many things about crowdsourcing technology development and data collection. We are taking those lessons along with lessons learned from other crowdsourced citizen science programs to improve the EclipseMob experience for the upcoming 2024 Solar Eclipse. One such lesson is to start planning, building, and recruiting much earlier, and we are. EclipseMob is on schedule to finalize the design and testing of a new receiver system this summer. The 2017 Solar Eclipse collection platform relied on participants’ personal smartphones, which supplied the analog to digital converter (ADC), local oscillator, time, location, web access, and computational power. Our platform for 2024 eliminates the need for a smartphone by using a Raspberry Pi (RPi), analog amplifier, ADC, and GPS, in a self‐contained unit. By eliminating the smartphone, the new design standardizes the hardware and increases economic accessibility. The 2024 platform is designed to collect WWVB signals at 60 kHz, as was the 2017 platform, but will also collect signals at lower frequencies such as the US Navy VLF transmitters. Those lower frequencies had to be ignored during the 2017 effort due to the limited bandwidth of the ADC in the smart phones. The construction process for the 2024 receiver kit has been heavily simplified, which we expect will result in increased participant success and satisfaction. In addition to modifying the data collection platform, 2024 EclipseMob is also changing its outreach approach. Instead of the centrally recruiting, training, and supporting participants, EclipseMob is switching to a train the trainer model. The EclipseMob team will work with and train a small subset of community leaders (from schools, libraries, ham radio clubs, etc.) to recruit and support participants locally. This should also increase the geospatial distribution of participants. In 2017 most participants were located in areas near the two main schools involved, which resulted in dense sampling in the Boston, MA and Fairfax, VA area. EclipseMob training materials will continue to meet the standards necessary for teacher continuing education credits and student learning.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed