U of MN – Twin Cities: Eclipse Ballooning Trip to New Mexico. Oct. 11-16, 2023

On October 11, 2023, after packing all of the essential equipment, the University of Minnesota’s NEBP (Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project) all-undergraduate team (plus Prof. Flaten) set off for New Mexico, a 2-day, nearly-20-hour drive!

Once we arrived in New Mexico, we scoped out the area and visited our potential launch and ground station sites. Through this, we discovered that our launch site had puppies!

On October 14th, it was finally the day of the eclipse! The ground station crew drove to Vaughn, New Mexico.

The launch site crew drove to Willard, New Mexico.

The launch crew quickly got set up and prepared payloads for two “stacks” to fly.

Two stratospheric balloons were launched, one specifically related to the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEBP). Once they were launched, it was time to observe the eclipse!

Our SunSpotter solar telescope was a hit among our team members and others in Willard observing the annular eclipse.

Here is a  a ground view of the eclipse from Ashton’s phone!

After the eclipse was over, we packed up our equipment and started chasing both our payloads. The NEBP one, in particular, drifted a long way because the cut mechanism failed so it returned to the ground slowly “under (vented) balloon” rather than faster “under parachute.”

After both stacks were recovered, data and footage were reviewed and we made the long drive back to Minnesota, getting back on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023.