WKU Team Collaborates to Develop Eclipse Photography App
- Tuesday, September 12th, 2023
Western Kentucky University's based team of students and professors is developing a free smartphone app for photographing the next total solar eclipse, which will occur on April 8, 2024. The app, called "SunSketcher" is designed to help people capture high-quality images of the "Bailey Beads" which occur just before and after totality, when the sunlight shines through the valleys between the lunar mountains. Accurate timing of these flashes of light, together with precise knowledge of the smartphone's position and the shape of the lunar disk, will allow the size and shape of the Sun to be measured with unprecedented precision, to within a few parts in a million.
The app will automatically take pictures of the Baily's Beads at the times of the so-called second and third contacts, when the Baily Beads are visible, using preprogrammed exposure settings. It will also provide information about the eclipse, such as when it will start and end, and what to expect. The app will also allow upload of the images obtained to permit later scientific analysis.
The app will use augmented reality (AR) to help users frame their shots and adjust their exposure settings. It will also provide information about the eclipse, such as when it will start and end, and what to expect. The app will also allow users to share their photos with others.
The SunSketcher Eclipse Project is being developed by the WKU XR Lab. The lab is a research and development center that focuses on the use of AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Dr. Gordon Emslie's research team consists of astronomers and astrophysicists from WKU's Physics & Astronomy Deparmtent as well as Hugh Hudson from UC Berkeley and the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
The app is currently in the development stage. The WKU team is planning to perform a beta test of the app during the annular eclipse of October 14, 2023, visible in the Western US. The app will be available for free on iOS and Android devices.
The WKU team believes that the SunSketcher Eclipse Project will be a valuable tool for people who want to photograph the eclipse. The app will make it easier for people to capture high-quality images of the eclipse, regardless of their experience level. The app will also help people to learn more about the eclipse and its significance.