State geologists seek ‘citizen scientists’ for eclipse project

Indiana geologists are seeking “citizen scientists” to help them with an eclipse-related project.

The Indiana Geological and Water Survey has an opportunity for Hoosiers to contribute on-the-ground data from the sun starting on the spring equinox, March 23, until a few days after the eclipse, April 10. Geologists are inviting anyone with a cell phone to contribute data for the project.

For best results, participants are needed from across the state. Contributors are asked to send data as many times as they can through a three-question online survey, according to the IGWS.

To take part, people need to download a free lux meter application. This will take measurements of the brightness of the light, geologists say.

People will then need to take measurements outside and submit the data to IGWS through its online portal at Data submissions should include the light measurement, time, date and location.

The IGWS is measuring the energy from the sun at all of its water balance stations, but there are many places in Indiana where they don’t have stations. This is why they need the public’s help to gather light data across the state.

Hourly data is preferred, but any data will help this endeavor. People can collect data on an app anytime they are outside and just make note of the time and can go back and report all data collections while at home, or do it directly from cellphones on the IGWS’ citizen survey.

Geologists say the results of this data can help the IGWS see variations on solar energy across the state, help to relate solar energy to light intensity and provide data sets for school lessons about sun, solar energy and light.

Data provided to IGWS will be published by the agency after the eclipse and included in a post-eclipse report. The agency also plans to study the eclipse’s effects on geology and groundwater too.