Eclipse Megamovie needs help analyzing 50,000 photos

By Brooks Hays  |  Jan. 5, 2018 at 11:33 AM
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Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The Eclipse Megamovie needs help processing some 50,000 photos of last summer's solar eclipse.

The "first-of-its-kind citizen science project," according to its website, is an effort to turn photos of the eclipse taken by volunteers all over the country into a seamless movie.

Sorting through the photos is a time-consuming process, and the project's organizers are asking for the public's help.

The thousands of photos are available online in a public database at Zooniverse and Google Cloud. Volunteers are being asked to look at eclipse photos and categorize them. Citizen scientists can help researchers working on the project identify various visual phenomena, including eclipse phases, diamond rings and Baily's beads.

The Google-backed project has already produced one movie using photos sorted and stitched by algorithms, but are now looking to create a second movie with the more discerning help of human eyes.

"It's a great way to relive the eclipse and see some stunning eclipse imagery, thanks to our oh-so-talented volunteers," Dan Zevin, who is leading the Eclipse Megamovie project at the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, said in a news release.

"The movie idea originally was just for outreach, and it has been and will be a powerful tool, but we also -- being scientists -- have figured out very good and novel science to do this way," said Hugh Hudson, a research physicist at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory who dreamed up the project.

Scientists will use the photos and resulting films to study the behavior of the sun's corona during the eclipse.

The project is one of several citizen-science efforts inspired by the solar eclipse.

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