The Idea takes shape
In early 2017, a story on NPR caught my attention. An event the announcers were calling “The Great North American Eclipse” would traverse most of the continent and the path of totality would pass through Casper, Wyoming; a mere 100 miles north of the Avantes US headquarters in Lousiville, Colorado. An idea immediately began to take shape.
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Partnering with the High-Altitude Observatory
Avantes had already worked with researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as NCAR, UCAR, NOAA and an entire alphabet of organizations. Certainly, someone we knew had some connection to the Eclipse.
Avantes had worked with researchers at NCAR in the past so we reached out to them first and asked if we could donate the use of our instruments to anyone planning to study the eclipse. We connected with Dr. Steven Tomczyck, Senior Scientist and Section Head for the NCAR High-Altitude Observatory who was excited to be able to plan additional experiments that could be facilitated with the loan of two Avantes optical spectrometers.
Path of Totality
Dr. Tomczyck and the team from the High Altitude Observatory were interviewed at the Casper Mountain site for the PBS science program, Nova’s prime time special event covering the eclipse. For roughly 4 minutes of prime-time television, Avantes instruments and/or a hat bearing the Avantes logo are visible while this highly respected researcher discussed work that has since been published using our instruments.
Avantes had a delegation on hand at the Casper Mountain station approximately 2,400 meters (8,000 ft) above sea level for the eclipse. Conditions were excellent, with low humidity and a cloudless sky. In addition to conducting experiments of our own, we visited with the researchers from the HAO as well as the European Space Agency and enjoyed the festival-like atmosphere of giddy scientific pursuit.
The research conducted during the eclipse was presented by Dr. Tomcyzck at the Geophysical Union Conference in December of 2017 and made available to astrological researchers around the globe. This continues to raise the stature of Avantes among this scientific community to this day.