A 61-telescope experiment that includes Missouri has captured nearly 70,000 unique images of the sun during Monday’s eclipse. University of Central Missouri Physics Professor Mike Foster is the citizen coordinator for the Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment, otherwise known as Citizen CATE. He says one of the telescopes is located in west-central Missouri’s Marshall.

Eclipse photo courtesy of Scott Heck

“We’re limited to just the 61, I believe, sites across of the totality. They’re all involved with academic institutions of some kind,” says Foster.

He tells Missourinet radio affiliate KMMO in Marshall that getting good pictures of the sun’s inner corona can only be done when the moon covers the sun.

“If you point a camera at the sun without any filters at all, you’ve just ruined a camera,” says Foster. “If we do a good job of imaging those, they’ll be able to take all of that information from the camera and analyze it and get a lot more detail about the corona than they’ve got now.”

Foster says the group includes scientists, students and volunteers helping to track the eclipse’s 2,500 mile path of total darkness.

“We have 90 continuous minutes of images of the corona of the sun,” says Foster.

The National Science Foundation and public and private donations funded the experiment.