Background Information

The atmospheric science track of NEBP will provide teams with experience flying off-the-shelf science payloads performing meteorological observations into the middle stratosphere. Participants will engage with introductory atmospheric science concepts, data collection, and operational efforts including sensor initialization, ground station operation, and scientific data analysis. No previous experience in atmospheric science is required, and all necessary training and materials will be provided. A primary scientific goal of the atmospheric science teams is to detect atmospheric gravity waves using weather balloons launched from multiple sites across the path of eclipse totality.

Resources Overview

  • Science context lectures (interactive training videos available online from Pod leaders and SMEs)
    • Introduction to gravity waves
    • Introduction to radiosondes
    • Introduction to WRF
    • Introduction to fluid dynamics
    • Science communication
    • Checklists and data saving procedures
  • Team Resources
    • All necessary pre-flight and post-flight checklists for successful scientific campaign
    • Assembly and instruction documents for equipment required
    • Placement, operation, and maintenance of surface weather station
    • Operation of radiosonde software and other programming tools for assisting with balloon launch procedures
    • Link to project calendar & timeline
    • Standard operating procedure document provided at training workshops and available online which includes:
    • Templates and instructions for helium purchase and transportation
    • Pod Leaders: regional leaders for assisting team leaders’ individual team issues

Team Expectations

  1. A notice of intent to participate as an atmospheric science (AS) team will be submitted to the MSGC website by team leaders and co-mentors, and pod leaders (user account created).
  2. Upon registration, the team leader will complete and submit the NEBP grant proposal.
  3. Team members create MSGC accounts and register for participation on a team and training in Balloon Flight Workshops (BFWs). All team participants, leaders, and mentors will commit to maintaining inclusive, respectful, and welcoming working environments and practices at all times.
    1. All team members and participants will additionally commit to attending and participating in a minimum number of team meetings, trainings, and other events, as determined by the team leader and pod leader of the region.
  4. After team proposals have been reviewed and teams selected, Team Leaders and Pod Leaders will submit a formal letter of acceptance to MSGC and home institutions.
  5. Many teams will be paired together, based on geographic location, experience level, and team focus. Coordination between AS and Engineering teams is allowed but not required, as these communications will be managed by the NEBP leadership team.
  6. Final identification of individual team members must be completed before the final BFW. This allows for securing lodging and transportation for all team members.
  7. Teams must consist of at least one team leader, one student leader, and 5 student participants, although larger teams are allowed if appropriate staffing is provided.
  8. Templates will be provided for submission documents required by team leaders for the registration and proposal process.
  9. Teams will complete trainings and earn badges and certificates of completion in areas of general professional development as well as AS team-specific technical training, both virtually and in-person.
  10. All teams will: 
    1. participate in practice flights before the 2023 and 2024 eclipse campaigns,
    2. participate in eclipse field campaigns in 2023 and 2024 launching weather balloons from within the path of eclipse totality (travel likely required, however funding for travel within a team’s pod region is provided),
    3. Process and save resulting atmospheric measurement data, &
    4. Engage in public outreach and science education at their launch site. There is no minimum requirement for outreach but teams should document outreach performed.
  11. Eligible students who wish to remain involved in data analysis efforts, manuscript preparation and publication, and presentation at scientific conferences are encouraged to do so.
    1. Each team will complete presentations to their community on their contributions to NEBP regardless of participation in subsequent data analysis.
  12. All teams will be required to submit a COVID-19 safety and protocols plan to adhere to all local, state, and institutional requirements.
  13. Finally, all teams will adhere to guidelines and requirements outlined by appendices of NEBP for the duration of their participation (helium transportation, FAA regulations, vehicle and lodging requirements, etc.).