NASA Wants YOU to Be a Citizen Scientist for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

A new NASA app will allow folks across the United States to become citizen scientists and collect data for an interactive map.

The NASA-sponsored Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program launched the app to allow enthusiastic spectators to document their solar eclipse observations wherever they may be along path of the Aug. 21 total eclipse.

This nationwide citizen-science experiment is easy to become a part of, and, as highlighted in the new GLOBE Observer (NASA GO) Eclipse App instructional video, requires you to have only a smartphone and a thermometer as you experience a partial or total eclipse.  [The Best ISO-Certified Gear to See the 2017 Solar Eclipse]

"When the Earth goes dark for a few minutes during a total solar eclipse, animals, plants and environmental conditions react. In the path of the eclipse, temperatures and clouds can change quickly," said the NASA video's narrator. 

A still from a new NASA video describing how a participant can use the free Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) smartphone app to record local temperatures, which drop during a total or partial solar eclipse. (Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Rich Melnick)

Since all of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse on Aug. 21, NASA encourages everyone to get involved in scientific observations during this rare experience.

"No matter where you are in North America, whether it's cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people to help with this citizen science project," Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator for the project, said in a statement.

NASA will certainly benefit from the plethora of data it is hoping to receive from citizen scientists across the continent. However, this initiative is also a way for NASA to inspire concern and participation in an international scientific endeavor, according to GLOBE. The idea is to democratize scientific observation by helping observers to understand their surroundings and to excite folks about what they are capable of.

By mobilizing people to empirically analyze the world around them on Aug. 21, Weaver said, "We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists."

Once participants download the free GLOBE Observer app and register themselves, the app will guide  them to record their observations. The information is then placed by the app onto an interactive map that people can view to see how individual contributions have added to the collective project.

A still from a new video for the free NASA GLOBAL Observer app. The continental United States, as well as Canada and Mexico, will experience a partial or total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. Observers within all ranges of the eclipse path are invited to measure temperatures in their vicinity and then upload the information to the new NASA GLOBE Observer (NASA GO) app. (Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Rich Melnick)

Readers who want to get involved can download the GLOBE Observer app here. You can also follow the project on Twitter @NASAGo, and on Facebook here.

Editor's note: has teamed up with Simulation Curriculum to offer this awesome Eclipse Safari app to help you enjoy your eclipse experience. The free app is available for Apple and Android, and you can view it on the web

Follow Doris Elin Salazar on Twitter @salazar_elin. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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Doris Elin Urrutia
Contributing Writer

Doris is a science journalist and contributor. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications at Fordham University in New York City. Her first work was published in collaboration with London Mining Network, where her love of science writing was born. Her passion for astronomy started as a kid when she helped her sister build a model solar system in the Bronx. She got her first shot at astronomy writing as a editorial intern and continues to write about all things cosmic for the website. Doris has also written about microscopic plant life for Scientific American’s website and about whale calls for their print magazine. She has also written about ancient humans for Inverse, with stories ranging from how to recreate Pompeii’s cuisine to how to map the Polynesian expansion through genomics. She currently shares her home with two rabbits. Follow her on twitter at @salazar_elin.