Radford students prepare for trip to Nashville to study total solar eclipse

RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) A team of Radford University students are preparing for a trip to Nashville, Tennessee to study the solar eclipse in its totality.

Nicholle Johnson is one of ten students who will travel to the path of totality to view the first total solar eclipse since 1979.

"I actually saw a flier on the wall and thought it would be really cool to get some more information and see if I could come on the trip."

With only a few slots on the trip, Solar Physicist Mike Freed says it was a first come first serve opportunity.

"We got a really good response. Unfortunately, we couldn't take everybody. We wish we could," said Freed.

Johnson is excited she made the cut.

"I actually screamed a little bit," she said.

Her background is a little different than the rest of the team.
"I'm the only non-physics major going," she explained.

As a biology major, she'll view the eclipse with a different perspective.
"It'll be interesting to see how the wildlife and people react to it."

According to Freed, it is estimated only one in a thousand people will see a total solar eclipse in their lifetime.

"It's great we'll have some Radford students that will be able to go participate and actually see this."

Freed says each student will have a role.
Some will be collecting research data and others like Nicholle will be doing public outreach, helping younger students at a Nashville-area high school view the eclipse safely.

Freed and his team's work is part of the Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment. The experiment will capture images of the solar corona using telescopes in 60 different locations across the country.

The images they capture will eventually be stitched together with other images from across the United States, resulting in a 90-minute-long film of the event.

"It gives you the opportunity to do something different. Not everybody is going to be in a path of totality in their lifetime," she said.

The students will leave for Nashville Sunday morning. The Radford team will be live streaming the eclipse to Radford University's Planetarium.