Research Center for Educational Technology Awarded Grant to Study Solar Eclipse

A team of pre-service teacher education students at Kent State will use state-of-the-art telescopes, cameras, and other equipment to safely observe and capture time-lapse photography of the sun’s inner corona – during the much-anticipated total solar eclipse on April 8.

Annette Kratcoski
Annette Kratcoski

The students will participate in citizen science investigations, with an emphasis on girls and young women who will collect and contribute astrophysical data for scientific study.

"We were really excited to receive the grant," said Annette Kratcoski, director of the Research Center for Educational Technology (RCET). "Not only because of the eclipse, but as our center celebrates 25 years, this project exemplifies our focus on innovative technologies for formal and informal learning. This grant also celebrates the 95th anniversary of our bachelors of science program in teacher education."

The grant, awarded to RCET and the School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies, was provided by Cosmic Picture as part of its Einstein’s Incredible Universe media and education project.

"Getting to participate in a multi-nation citizen science project is great for our secondary science teachers," said Professor Lisa Borgerding, Ph.D. "We get to be a part of the production of scientific knowledge, and these future middle and high school teachers will be poised to use citizen science projects in their future classes." Kratcoski and Borgerding will serves as citizen science project directors.

Students set up telescope to view solar eclipse

The Kent State team will be part of the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast (DEB) Initiative which represents a North American network of more than 70 citizen scientist solar observation teams in Mexico, Canada, and across the USA. After capturing the images, the team will upload HDR images of the eclipse in near, real-time to a centralized hub on the DEB website.

Anyone visiting the RCET website will be able to watch, as observing sites along the path sequentially experience the eclipse. Furthermore, the DEB Initiative's website will allow anyone to watch the eclipse in real-time. The DEB team will process and analyze the full-resolution files in the weeks following the eclipse.

Lisa Borgerding
Lisa Borgerding

One of the major goals of the DEB Initiative is to research the poorly understood interactions between the Sun’s visible surface, or photosphere, and the corona. This requires seeing a detailed cross-section that includes all of the different regions of the sun’s atmosphere. Combining simultaneous observations from locations inside and outside of totality will make that study possible.

Einstein’s Incredible Universe is a major media and education program produced and distributed by Cosmic Picture, and funded in part by the National Science  Foundation. The centerpiece of the project is a 2D/3D film for IMAX® and giant-screen theaters featuring the great discoveries of Albert Einstein and modern astrophysicists who are putting his groundbreaking theories to the test. It also includes an array of education and engagement efforts, including the citizen science activities tied to the total solar eclipse.

Cosmic Picture was founded to produce and distribute the most compelling cinematic experiences possible to change people’s perception of the universe in ways never imagined. Cosmic Picture represents one of the industry’s largest libraries of top quality giant screen and fulldome films including the National Geographic library of documentaries. Past films include award-winning IMAX® and giant-screen productions and transformative environmental documentaries with tremendous social impact including Superpower Dogs, Extreme Weather, and Jane Goodall – Reasons for Hope. To discover more, visit

POSTED: Tuesday, February 6, 2024 09:55 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2024 02:40 PM