“Solar eclipses as an opportunity for public engagement with science”

Thank you to Tadulako University (UNTAD) for inviting me to speak at an international seminar on March 8th to mark the 2016 Indonesian total solar eclipse. The title of my presentation will be “Solar eclipses as an opportunity for public engagement with science”.

The keynote speaker is Richard Gelderman from Western Kentucky University (WKU) in the US, who will talk about “The Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) Experiment for 2017”.


I’ve been working with Professor Gelderman over the past three months, helping to facilitate an exciting cross-border collaboration between students at WKU and UNTAD. During the eclipse on March 9th, our group will be gathering results for the CATE experiment, plus another project called GLOBE, which is run by NASA’s Earth Science Division.

The UNTAD seminar also features Miquel Serra-Ricart, from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Spain. Dr Serra-Ricart is the president of Shelios, which promotes and broadcasts scientific expeditions around the world.

The Shelios team will be broadcasting the eclipse from Palu in Spanish and English. First contact (the beginning of the partial phase of the eclipse) will be between 23:25 and 23:30 Universal Time on March 8th; second and third contacts (marking the beginning and end of totality) come one hour later, between 00:32 and 00:42 Universal Time on March 9th.

Completing the line-up for the UNTAD seminar is a team from BMKG in Jakarta. BMKG – Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika, or the Council for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics – will also be live-streaming the eclipse.


My trip to Indonesia is being generously sponsored by Garuda Indonesia.

UPDATE (3 March 2016)
Prof Dr Thomas Djamaluddin, the chairman of LAPAN, will also be presenting at the seminar. LAPAN (Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional) is the Indonesian space agency.

Published by Graham Jones

Astrophysicist and science communicator