Amazing Photos of the Great American Eclipse!

The eclipse in totality looming over the Earth with its shadow. Taken from an elevation 60,000 feet, with a GoPro Hero 3+.

Another place. A different time. A wondrous occasion. August 21st, 2017 is a date we’ll never forget. Where were you when the moon obscured the sun? There are many answers, one to each person, but for our team of fifteen individuals, that place was a cozy little town called Dayville, Oregon.

The Umbra moving across the Earth, from an elevation of 60,000 feet. Image captured with a GoPro Hero 3+.

Our team was able to retrieve fantastic pictures from both the payload and our ground telescopes. Although there where a few complications during the event. The major problem was that our balloons ascended too fast causing the balloons to burst moments before totality. We believe that this was caused by the lack of wind, high atmospheric pressure and low humidity, resulting in weather conditions that did not slow the ascent of our balloon as usual.  The conditions were too ideal!

The elusive Diamond Ring, shot with an Orion 100mm refractor with a Canon Rebel EOS DSLR camera

Our contribution to Google’s Megamovie project was a major success. We obtained hundreds of magnificent pictures from our two telescopes. We were able to capture photos beginning at first contact and ending at fourth contact, even capturing images of the elusive Bailey’s beads and Diamond ring effect. All thanks to the help of the wonderful John Bunyan and Dave Bloomsness.

The elusive Bailey’s Beads, shortly before the long awaited totality, shot with an Orion 100mm refractor with a Canon Rebel EOS DSLR camera

Due to the lack of wind our payloads landed very close to our launch location, this does not mean that the retrieval was an easy task. The Tornado Payload was found on the ground about half a mile off a dirt road making the retrieval on this payload fairly easy. The Eagle Payload was much more difficult to recover, due to it being stuck in a tree down the steep slope of a mountain. We tried many different ways to retrieve this payload, from throwing rocks at it, to trying to cut the tree down with a small hatchet. We were able to retrieve the payload by using a dead tree to hook it, and bring it safely to the ground.

Prominence from the North Medford telescope set up: Orion 100mm refractor with Canon Rebel EOS DSLR camera
Image of the Corona shot with an Orion 100mm refractor with a Canon Rebel EOS DSLR camera


This has been a truly amazing project to be part of, and we can not wait until the next eclipse. We would like to thank everyone for all the support and keeping up with the project. From ours to yours: See you, Space Cowboys!

The team just before the event.
One of our balloons capturing another, with a GoPro Hero 3+

Last Interview With The Valley 106.3 Before The Eclipse

On August 15th Robert Black and Reyna Kirschel were interviewed about the High Altitude Balloon project by The Valley 106.3 hosted by Paul Gerardi. Its a ten minute interview talking about: Possible risks during the balloon trip that might befall the team,  the various roles the students play in the trip, the other various projects that are planned to be happening, and how to view the total solar eclipse through stream from the balloon team.

Robert Black
Reyna Kirschel






Eclipse interview with the The Valley 106.3


On July 10th Robert Black and Emily Christiansen were interviewed about the High Altitude Balloon project by The Valley 106.3 hosted by Paul Gerardi. Its an 8 minute stress free interview uploaded on sound cloud. They go over the science behind the eclipse, the streaming technology, the day of the eclipse, the time for the eclipse across the united states, and other projects associated with the balloon project. All answers and questions were precise and to the point. This is a great summary of what our project has been about.


Emily on right,
Robert Black

HAB GoFundMe Has Arrived!

As our valued readers may know, the North Medford High School high Altitude Balloon team is but one of many teams participating in the eclipse project across the nation. While many of us are able to fund the majority of our operations through grants from organizations like Science Works, the Oregon Space Grant Consortium, and Montana State University, there are still other things our team and others would like to do after the eclipse has occurred. Our team plans to send representatives to the 8th Annual Academic High-Altitude Conference in Minnesota. We would be enthused if you could help us by alleviating some of the financial burden of this trip so that we can share our experiences with our fellow ballooners. See below for the national GoFundMe page:

GoFundMe Page:

Upcoming Event!

There is an upcoming tethered launch Saturday, April 22nd, at 12:40, where two of our team members will be giving a talk on our project! Alex Hoppe and Nick Winetrout will give you all the information you will need to understand our project. After, come join us at 1:00 P.M. that afternoon to witness us launch a tethered balloon! We would be excited if you came and joined us!

Image result for science works


Conference Call with Shane from MSU

On Thursday, February 9th the team took part in a conference call with Shane from Montana State University and got some important questions answered. The questions were very important when considering the direction we will be going in the future, what restrictions are placed upon our payload, and how much control we will have over the ground station. The questions we asked will be listed below with their responses.

The team gathering around for the call.

Q: Can we have access to the Arduino code for the ground station?

A: We should be able to provide you with this information. This is significant Because it will allow us to manually track the payload and receive images if the automated tracking is no working.

Q: What is the range of the still and video transmitters?

A:  The still image payload has a range of 40km-60km, while the Video has a range of 40.25km. This is from the ground station straight to the balloon. It was also mentioned that the balloon needed to be at an elevation of 60-80,000ft during totality.

Q: Is the objective to get real-time video of the shadow across the Earth’s surface or to image the Sun?

A: This decision is up to the team and what we think would look the best.

Q: What happens if we lose the Payload in test launches before the eclipse on August 21st?

A: We were informed that MSU has a few backup payloads and will attempt to provide us with the lost equipment.

Q: How will NASA TV display the video of each payload during the eclipse?

A: NASA will have an interactive website where the user will be able to click on what payload they want to see video from.

Q: Are there plans to add GPS capability to the still image payloads?

A: There are a few teams testing this and we will keep you updated on if it is working well.

Q: What is the largest payload you have had and what is the maximum weight of the payload?

A: The total weight of the balloon has to be under 12lbs. due to FAA requirement. The NASA payload has a weight of 6-7lbs. The FAA also has various density requirements for when we launch the payload.

Q: Can we have a UV A and B sensor and a Geiger counter on the payload?

A: It is important to test these in conjunction with the required components to see if they interfere with the imaging and other important parts of the system.