A handful of University of Houston students are getting the trip of a lifetime this weekend as they will be driving up to Nebraska to get a rare glimpse of a total solar eclipse.
But it’s not all fun and games. The students will also be studying.
It’s all part of an experiment to record very low frequency, which are radio waves that they will record in the earth’s atmosphere during the solar eclipse.
University of Houston students are sending up a self-built instrument by several very large weather balloons. Those balloons will take the device up to about 90,000 feet.
The big interest in this experiment is the application of understanding very low frequency, which can help in finding the location of lightning strikes and detecting interference in radio communication due to the absence of daylight.
The students say they’re excited to learn, but equally excited to see such a rare phenomenon.
“It’s very rare for someone in our generation to actually see an eclipse that happened here like two or three generations ago," said UH Student Bryan Gunawan. "It's a very exciting opportunity for us, and we would really like to learn and actually experience what’s going on during an eclipse itself."
The instrument will be in air anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, and then it will land somewhere. The device has a GPS in it so the students can recover it.
The students will be leaving for Nebraska Sunday and returning home Tuesday.