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Pittsburgh college students launch weather balloon to prepare for solar eclipse research

PITTSBURGH — Students from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University spent their Sunday preparing for an upcoming solar eclipse.

Faculty members joined them at the Allegheny Observatory as they launched a weather balloon.

The group of students is conducting NASA-funded research on “shadow bands.”

NASA says shadow bands are thin wavy lines of alternating light and and dark that move in parallel surfaces just before a solar eclipse.

The balloon contains a transmitter that helps the students gather data.

“It records data like humidity, temperature, pressure, altitude - those kinds of things and our goal is to see how they change in the hours leading up to the eclipse, during it and right after,” said Peri Schindelheim, a Pitt senior.

The launch on Sunday was just a practice session.

The group will travel to Texas for the April 8th eclipse.

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