6 months until a total solar eclipse

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Typically in August, you hear the crunch of pads, the cheers of fans and the shouts of coaches filling Houck Stadium on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

But come August 21, just minutes before the clock strikes noon, the stadium will go dark, and the spectators inside will be scientists, teachers and students.

Diana Rogers Adkinson is the Dean of the College of Education. She and a NASA representative will release two weather balloons just as the moon seemingly swallows the sun.

Sensors inside those balloons will collect all sorts of data from temperature, to wind speeds and more as they climb 15 miles into the sky before bursting and tumbling back to earth with their precious payload.

"We're working with Civil Air Defense in five states to track those balloons with GPS and small planes so we can get the cargo back," Adkinson said.

This eclipse will mimic the total eclipse of 1918, traversing the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic, with the Heartland, specifically Carbondale, Makanda and Perryville getting the longest show.

Peggy Hill is a Physics professor at Southeast Missouri State University.

On August 21, she'll be with a team of people in Perryville, using a telescope to watch the total eclipse that, if we're lucky, will last maybe two minutes.

"We'll be taking pictures along with 60 other telescopes along the eclipse's path of the sun's corona," Hill said.

Notre Dame science teacher Jerry Landewe has been waiting for a total eclipse, laughingly saying, "For the last 10-15 years-- for one to be right on top of us."

Landewe said we can expect, "the sky will go black, we'll see stars, maybe a planet, and the temperature will drop."

The entire event from Oregon to South Carolina will last about two hours with those not under the direct path seeing either a partial eclipse or nothing at all.

"The whole world can see a lunar eclipse. A total solar eclipse is a more personal experience," according to Landewe.

Notre Dame won't be in session August 21, but all are welcome to go there to watch.

Though he's graduating in the spring, Jack Essner said if he's close enough, he's coming home to see the spectacle.

"I've seen a lunar eclipse, a blood moon, but nothing beats this. It's very exciting," Essner said.

For more information on the eclipse visit nationaleclipse.com

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