Why Observe?

The Earth is solar-powered. So what happens when the Sun's light is blocked, even temporarily? If you measure air and surface temperature, how cool is an eclipse?

During an eclipse, citizen scientists are able to:

  • Observe how the eclipse changes atmospheric conditions near you
  • Contribute to a citizen science database used by scientists and students to study the effects of eclipses on the atmosphere
  • Provide comparison data even if they are not in the path of totality

During the total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017, more than 10,000 observers helped us collect more than 20,000 cloud observations with 60,000 photos and 80,000 air temperature measurements to answer these questions and others using the GLOBE Observer app. (See the 2017 version of this page.) While the Eclipse tool is not regularly available in the app, we plan to reopen it for future eclipses that pass through GLOBE countries.

Selector button for the GLOBE Observer Eclipse tool

The video below was created for the eclipse in August 2017, but explains why NASA needs your help making observations during any eclipse.


GLOBE Observer Now

The next total solar eclipse will take place on July 2nd, 2019 and will pass across the southern part of South America. The eclipse will begin over the Pacific Ocean, and the lunar shadow will enter South America near La Serena, Chile and end near Chascomús, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Outside this path, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in the rest of Chile and Argentina as well as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and parts of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama. To find out exactly how much of the eclipse a particular location will experience, visit this website. You can also find a full listing of upcoming solar eclipses (total, partial and annular) here.

Diagram of the eclipse path for the 2 July 2019 event.

Image source: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.