Eclipse experiment draws in ham radio buffs

Scientist and ham radio operator Nathaniel Frissell will be doing a massive "citizen science" project with fellow radio enthusiasts to use radio signals to probe changes in the Earth's atmosphere during the eclipse.
A vintage ham radio set-up (The Associated Press)

Several scientific experiments during Monday's eclipse will draw from "citizen scientists" for their data. One asks participants to record the reactions of animals during the eclipse. Another called The Eclipse Megamovie is asking people under the band of totality to record pictures and videos, which can then be stitched together into one continuous video of the entire event.

An experiment led by Dr. Nathaniel Frissell from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, won't require you to be anywhere near the eclipse. In fact, you won't have to see the sky at all. Dr. Frissell will be holding what is called a Solar Eclipse ham radio party - known as a QSO party, during which ham radio operators from all over the world will try to connect with as many others as possible. They will then use data from the signals to observe the effect of the eclipse on the Earth's ionosphere.  Ham radio signals bounce off the ionosphere, which is what allows them to travel such long distances.