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Become a SunSketcher, and Help Measure the Shape of the Sun!

A dark circle in the center with color slivers of light show the movement of the sun during the eclipse.
Baily’s Beads, tiny slivers of sunlight that pass through the valleys on the surface of the moon, seen during the eclipse of 2 July 2019. Register now for the SunSketcher project to use Baily’s Beads to measure the Sun.
Credit P. Horalék/ESO

What shape Is the Sun? Hint: it’s not perfectly round! Knowing precisely how the Sun’s shape deviates from a sphere can teach us about its interior and test theories of gravity. You can help measure the Sun’s shape by joining the SunSketcher project!

During the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, we need help from volunteers from along the eclipse’s path of totality – the region from Texas to Maine where the Moon will completely block the Sun’s light – to help create a movie of the eclipse. Using the free SunSketcher smartphone app, you’ll capture views of the eclipse and trace tiny slivers of sunlight that pass through the valleys on the surface of the Moon. The science team will combine your images with precision maps of the Moon collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to measure the Sun’s size and shape precisely.

Are you planning to watch the April 8 total eclipse? Check out the SunSketcher website for information about eclipses and the SunSketcher project. Make your travel plans now. Register as a SunSketcher to receive regular updates on the progress of this exciting citizen science experiment!