Total Solar Eclipse Experience

Jaydeep Mukherjee – Director of the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC)

Location: Summerville, South Carolina

Coordinates: 33° 1’ 7” N, 80° 10’ 32” W

Start time of totality: 2:45 PM (EDT)

Duration of totality: 1min 58s


How the overcast skies, rain and lightning storm ruined the view of totality in Summerville, SC


The title of the project was “Low radio frequency observation of the possible decrease in the absorption of the galactic background by the terrestrial ionosphere during the total solar eclipse of August 21st, 2017.” This set of observation is part of a national effort by students, scientists and the general public to observe these effects during a total solar eclipse. The closest place from Florida to observe the total solar eclipse was around the Charleston area in South Carolina. The site chosen to set up the antenna and equipment was located in Summerville, South Carolina, within the path of totality. The chosen location provided a space of about 35 by 35 feet, free of trees and shrubs to set up the antenna. The antenna covered a surface of about 26 by 26 feet. The plan was to do 24-hour observations starting two days before and a day after the eclipse to define a baseline of the galactic background profile. This baseline will be compared with the profile obtained during the eclipse to determine the possible change in absorption of the radio emission.

Unfortunately, just minutes after the partial eclipse began, it became very cloudy. In fact, it was raining, accompanied with thunder and lightning during the totality of the eclipse.