Letters to the Editor

Student scientists part of NASA eclipse study

On Aug. 21, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s NASA Balloon Satellite Team, participating in the Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, launched its high-altitude, helium-filled balloon.

As a member of the national Eclipse Ballooning Project, it joined 55 teams from across the country to live-stream footage of the solar eclipse as the path of totality swept across the country.

The project was sponsored by the NASA Science Mission Directorate and NASA’s Space Grant program. Our team was the first to launch at West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah.

The balloon took eclipse video footage up to 75,000 feet before it burst and floated to Earth. “It’s just beautiful,” said BCTC Environmental Science Professor Tracy Knowles, coordinator of the grant and leader of the team of 10 dedicated young scientists.

Knowles and Instructional Specialist Rae Ann Gill exemplify many faculty and staff at BCTC who have a mission of supporting students in their search for knowledge in a variety of fields.

It was an amazing experience. Oh wait, you think I mean a total eclipse of the sun? Well, yes, that was amazing. But what was not to be missed was spending time with young and talented scientists, doing important research, led by dedicated educators.

Augusta A. Julian

President & CEO, Bluegrass Community and Technical College

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