Eclipse Megamovie project seeks public's help analyzing 50,000 photos

January 5, 2018 by Robert Sanders, University of California - Berkeley
Volunteers are asked to classify photographs of the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse, including whether other objects—like the star Regulus—appear in the image. Credit: University of California—Berkeley

Although August's total solar eclipse was over in minutes, analysis of the 50,000 photos uploaded to the Eclipse Megamovie website is a time-consuming job, so team leaders are asking citizen scientists for help.

The images have been put online at Zooniverse so that the public can scan and categorize them, a dubbed Megamovie Maestros I.

Initially, volunteers are being asked to determine what the project's photographers actually captured by identifying eclipse phases, diamond rings, Baily's beads and other interesting phenomena.

The photos, snapped by thousands of recruited volunteers, have already been stitched together once by Google to create a first round extended view of the eclipse (aka the Megamovie). The Zooniverse project will help the team improve the Megamovie, and ultimately, better understand the behavior and mechanisms of the . Analysis of individual images will provide even more scientific data, according to the project team.

People who are more technically inclined are invited to dive into the project's entire image database to see what they can discover or create (see instructions here). That could mean constructing a collage, spotting an unusual phenomenon or even making a better Megamovie.

"It's a great way to relive the eclipse and see some stunning eclipse imagery, thanks to our oh-so-talented volunteers," said Dan Zevin, who is with the Multiverse education team that is leading the Eclipse Megamovie project at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.

Explore further: Video: Megamovie video captures eclipse coast-to-coast

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