Total Eclipse of the Sun 

Dr. Janelle Baily
(Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg)

On Monday August 21, 2017, sky watchers from around the United States will be treated an amazing celestial show: a total solar eclipse. This is the first total solar eclipse visible from American soil in nearly forty years.

Because of this rare treat, Dr. Janelle Bailey, associate professor of instruction in the Department of Teaching & Learning, is co-principal investigator on a $225,000 sub-grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Heliophysics Education Consortium out of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.  The grant is in partnership with Ramon Lopez (University of Texas at Arlington), Rebecca Vieyra (American Association of Physics Teachers), Brad Ambrose (Grand Valley State University), Ximena Cid (California State University Dominguez Hills), and Shannon Willoughby (Montana State University).

The five-year grant will focus primarily on the Sun: how it works, its physics, ejections of materials and how it interacts with our solar system. The first year focused specifically on the total eclipse happening August 2017. The goal of the grant is to create and model activities for college students, including future teachers learning how to teach mathematics and science. These future teachers can later use them for teaching their own students. The activities focus on the use of physical models to understand concepts and phenomena with such large-scale events.

“I am excited to learn more about the aspects of the Sun,” said Dr. Bailey, who has spent 20 years studying astronomy education research. “I took my love for astronomy and went into education to teach it and figure out how students learn it and how to teach it better.”

Read more about the 2017 Solar Eclipse.