UCCS “Ring of Fire” Team Visits Mesa Verde National Park

Meet the team. From left: Nicholas Albrecht, Sandy Camarena, Dale Mueller, Miranda Goelz, Tyler Tryon and Lynnane George

A team of UCCS students and faculty visited Mesa Verde National Park to view the Oct. 14 Solar Eclipse as part of NASA’s Dynamic Broadcast Eclipse Initiative (DEB). 

In partnership with Southern Illinois University, this unique opportunity aims to create a network of volunteer teams across North America to observe eclipses in our hemisphere. UCCS, along with 35 other teams from across the U.S., were invited to join the Initiative to observe the annular eclipse on October 14 and the total eclipse on April 8 of next year. The team was provided with a telescope, software and attended training to handle and share data gathered with the rest of the Initiative.

“This was an amazing opportunity for student involvement in industry efforts to observe our solar system, and the team is grateful for NASA’s outreach and sponsorship,” said Lynnane George, Senior Instructor in Space Systems, STEM Education and Robotics.

The team traveled to Mesa Verde National Park in Southern Colorado to record the eclipse. When they arrived early in the morning, the weather was perfect for solar observation, without a cloud to be seen. With only a few hiccups in the process, they recorded all necessary data and captured some beautiful images as well.

Mesa Verde was specifically chosen because it lay close to the path of the eclipse with the highest lunar obscuration. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon moves between earth and the sun without fully blocking the sun’s light, resulting in the characteristic “ring of fire” seen in the path of totality. For the 2024 total eclipse, the team will travel to eastern Texas to take observational data there.

April 8 will be a Monday, but if you can afford the time, it is highly recommended to travel to see the total eclipse. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, as the next total eclipse in mainland North America will not occur until 2045.