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UAlbany Studies and Celebrates Solar Eclipse

By Kathryn Taleporos | April 8, 2024 

The University at Albany has made scientific and celebratory plans for the solar eclipse set to pass over New York on Monday. The eclipse will be passing over the entirety of North America, with the peak in Albany at 3:26 p.m. Although Albany will not see total darkness, 97% of the sun will be eclipsed.

This eclipse is unique in its totality and reach; according to UAlbany’s New York State Mesonet, the next eclipse of this magnitude and totality in the state will not be until 2045. The most recent eclipse to pass over North America occurred in 2017, but the zone of totality did not cross the Northeast. Most of North America will be able to glimpse the eclipse in some darkness this Monday. 

NYS Mesonet will be measuring a number of factors during the eclipse. They have a total of 126 weather stations set up across New York State that measure “temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure, solar radiation, snow depth, and soil information,” according to their website. 55 of these sites will be in the path of the total solar eclipse. 

Within those 55 sites, NYS Mesonet will be facilitating a project entitled “Education and Outreach using the MicroPulse Differential Absorption Lidars (MPD) and NYSM Profiler Network before, during, and after the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.” This project will study the impacts of the total solar eclipse on weather in three cities -including Albany- through the month of April. 

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, and is not the only thing NYS Mesonet will be doing for the eclipse. According to their website, UAlbany students will be launching weather balloons to measure upper-air atmosphere changes, and NYS Mesonet will be assisting with the launch of three drones, including one at UAlbany’s Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (ETEC) building. 

Additionally, the eclipse will be livestreamed from UAlbany’s Whiteface Mountain Field Station. Depending on cloud cover, it’s possible their webcam will allow an unobstructed view of the eclipse. This livestream will be available on Youtube

UAlbany will be participating in more than just scientific innovation, however. During the height of the eclipse, UAlbany will be hosting a solar eclipse viewing for students in the Entry Plaza of the Uptown Campus. 

“The UAlbany campus community is invited to a solar eclipse viewing event. Protective viewing glasses will be available while supplies last. Local poets will share their original poetry related to the eclipse. Guests will also enjoy a sweet treat, learn about resources, and have the chance to win prizes,” according to MyInvolvement

This is an event presented by multiple organizations at UAlbany, including Residential Life, Student Affairs, Student Activities, and the New York State Writers Institute, inviting students to view and celebrate the solar eclipse. 

Students can RSVP to the event on MyInvolvement.


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