We are a group of students from Zlatarski International School-Sofia who believe in science and wish to help its progress.
Astronomy is that field of physics which provides fundamental research into the nature of the Universe in which we are living. It aims to answer some of the greatest questions we could ask like how the Universe came to be, how big it is, how old it is and what its destiny is. A small but incredibly important part of astronomical investigations is research concerning our Sun. It provides us with the only opportunity to study matter in conditions of extremely high density, pressure and temperature which are impossible to reproduce in a laboratory.
Ever since ancient times, solar eclipses have fascinated people and have urged them to find ways to explain their meaning. Today, solar eclipses are not just a pretty sight for astronomers but an incredible opportunity to carry out extensive research that is impossible outside of such an event.
On August 21st 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible from within a thin corridor which will cross the length of the whole of the USA, almost diagonally from the Northwest to the Southeast. The Moon’s path first “steps” on the Northwest coast of the USA in the state of Oregon and leaves the land, crossing over South Carolina. People are already calling it The Great American Eclipse and it will be most clearly visible near the city of Madras, Oregon due to the forecasted beneficial meteorological conditions.
The astronomers from the Bulgarian National Astronomical Observatory-Rozhen, which is the largest astronomical observatory in Southeast Europe and on the Balkans, don’t have the financial means to travel and witness one of the most significant astronomical events in their career which cannot be observed on the territory of Bulgaria. Studying the Sun is a huge part of the scientific research done at the Bulgarian observatory where in 2005 the only coronographic telescope in Bulgaria was designed and built.
The main financial needs are connected with the following spending:
- To carry out the observational tasks, an optimal team of 5 people is necessary, but there should not be fewer than 3 people.
- Obtaining the necessary equipment to carry out the observations and the investigations
- The team must arrive at least 2 days prior to the event on the territory of the state of Oregon (the city of Portland). Due to the distance to the viewing post, the expedition may last up to 10 days.
- Acquiring travel visas for the expedition team (until the end of March 2017)
- Plane tickets and hotels should be booked no later than March 2017 and paid no later than the end of April 2017. This is necessary due to the great interest toward the solar eclipse from a large number of people on a global scale. The initial itinerary of the journey goes through Western Europe (Sofia – Frankfurt – New York – Portland). There may be some variation of the stops between the starting and the final destination, depending on the best possible price for the journey.
- Renting a car on the territory of the USA
The funds necessary for the visas, the travel and hotel costs have almost been collected (~90% of it), but the money for the necessary equipment is not!
Hardware and equipment
A highly sensitive digital camera with low electronic noise, a large matrix and small pixels is necessary. A suitable camera would be Canon EOS 5DS R. The approximate price on the Bulgarian market for this model is 3500 EUR.
Purchasing a highly sensitive, low frequency microphone. A similar microphone is http://www.pcb.com/nx/cSearch.aspx?q=377A07 (model 377A07). The funds necessary for the latter microphone and the specific software that it requires are around 1280 EUR. The necessary charger and the software providing computer connection for the microphone cost 485 euro (https://www.picotech.com/oscilloscope/4224-4424/picoscope-4224-4424-overview).
The total funding needed for the purchase of the necessary hardware and equipment sums up to around 5265 EUR. We would need around 6135 euro in total in order to cover all costs, including those for equipment and the remaining travel expenses.