For the past several years at Dr. Tony Phillips’ property in Aspendell, a group of young scientists have been exploring the stratosphere, and four of them are preparing to travel across the globe to test equipment for their greatest project yet.
Students of Earth to Sky Calculus, headed by astronomer Dr. Phillips, will be traveling to Belitung Island in Indonesia to observe the world’s only full total eclipse of the sun of 2016. The purpose of their trip, which departs on Friday, March 4 from Los Angeles, is to test camera equipment in preparation for the full eclipse over the United States on August 21, 2017, during which they will launch a dozen stratospheric helium balloons to capture video as the eclipse passes across the continent.
“We hope to take the footage from all twelve balloons and put it together and create a unique movie which shows what it looks like as the shadow of the moon sweeps across an entire continent from coast to coast,” said Dr. Phillips. “And nobody’s ever done anything like that before.”
Joe Harvey, Mia Yarborough, Ginger Perez and Aaron Lamb are all either current or former Bishop High School students who became involved with Earth to Sky during their time at Bishop High. They will be accompanied to Indonesia by Harvey’s mother, Bishop attorney Dana Crom.
Harvey said he became involved in Earth to Sky when one of his friends asked him up to Aspendell to launch a balloon—and the rest was history.