Dayville, Ore. — A group of students from Medford were a big part in helping everyone see the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse Monday morning. North Medford High School students made up one of 55 teams across the country working with NASA to live stream the big event.
“We got up at five,” North Medford Senior Sam Leach said. “I’m a little tired, but everyone’s really excited.”
He and his classmates had been waiting for Monday, August 21, 2017 for nearly two years.
“We came up here, and we knew exactly what we needed to do, and we set it up,” Leach said. “And we were actually a little early for most things.”
The team has been working with NASA to capture the total solar eclipse on video and in photographs. At 10:16 in the morning they succeeded.
“It’s been amazing, seeing the eclipse, and knowing that we were getting actually, you know, photographs of it 100,000 feet up,” Leach said.
The team launched two balloons into space over Dayville, Oregon. In the air, the payloads were able to help NASA live stream the eclipse as it happened over the West Coast. But it wasn’t all work and no play.
“We had a little down time to, you know, look at the moon as it’s passing over the sun,” Leach said.
Leach said the experience was very educational, but also pretty awesome.
“I’ve got some bragging rights, you know, I’ve worked with NASA and I’m 17 years old, “Leach said.
Those bragging rights weren’t his motivation. Leach said it all comes down to sharing this once in a lifetime experience.
“A lot of people couldn’t make it up to the path of totality, and you know, it can make people’s day when we show them our pictures, so that’s what I’m really excited about,” Leach said.
For some of the students, this will be part of their senior project.