An ‘Eclipse Road Trip’ for a professor and his students

A Millersville University professor and a group of students are traveling the southern U.S. to find the best spot to see Monday's eclipse. - (Photo / Courtesy of Millersville University)

Millersville University meteorology professor Richard Clark and about 15 of his students are somewhere in the southern U.S., having found what they hope is the perfect spot to view Monday’s eclipse.

“We just want to have clear skies, even if it means pulling off at a rest area off of an interstate,” Clark said late last week, before the group left in three vehicles early in the weekend.

They were scouting out the best site in the path of the so-called “Great American Eclipse” as it passes over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Early Monday morning, they were in Madison, Tenn., several miles north of Nashville.

The students led by Clark, who is chairman of Millersville’s Department of Earth Sciences, also are launching weather balloons that will float up to 110,000 feet and take measurements from the total solar eclipse.

“I just hope a cloud doesn’t move in front of the sun at the last minute,” Clark said. “History is replete with expeditions that have gone halfway around the way, have macheted through jungles or traveled through deserts, only to have a cloud obscure the sun at the last minute.”

The MU group is blogging and posting on Facebook, and can be followed by friending the university’s Facebook page, Clark said.

University meteorologist Eric Horst said the field of space weather, or studying the meteorological impacts of solar storms on earth, is growing.

The eclipse provides an opportunity, with a large portion of the sun being blocked, to study things from the surface of the earth that normally you could not see, he added.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com.

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