Group in Ontario County prepares to capture video of this month's solar eclipse


    (Provided photo)

    Canandaigua, N.Y. - A group in Ontario County is preparing to capture video of this month's solar eclipse.

    The countdown is on to record the eclipse on camera.

    “Put your camera in a place you can't normally get to. The edge of space. 115,000 feet,” said Tory Carissimo, an engineer and project leader for launching high-altitude weather balloons for Overlook Horizon in Canandaigua.

    Carissimo is getting ready to be eyes in the sky, bringing you video of the eclipse, captured on high-altitude balloons hovering in the atmosphere.

    “Come launch time, high pressure to make sure everything works and is going to do what it's supposed to do,” Carissimo explained.

    Weighing three and a half pounds, the latex high-altitude weather balloon has a Go Pro camera that brings stunning images of the atmosphere.

    “We'll actually see shadows from above the clouds, measure deviations, temperature changes as the moon crosses,” he said.

    Once in the air, engineers have no control over the balloon. The Arduino based flight computer shows him where the balloon is.

    “It's an unmanned free balloon, so there's no control over it once you let it go,” he said. “Once it's in the air, it's on its own.”

    The balloon will be in the air for three hours for the eclipse. It's got a radio transmitter and three cameras to record the eclipse, showing the sun from above the clouds, giving an up-close look at the shadows the eclipse creates.

    Air pressure causes the balloon to expand to 30 feet and then burst. A parachute helps it land safely on the ground.

    “Hopefully, this inspires students and educators to learn about the (Overlook Horizon) project, and get them into doing their own project,” Carissimo added.

    The balloon launch is set for August 21 at Canandaigua Academy.

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