There hasn't been a lot of scientific research to show how animals react to a total solar eclipse. Today, one will cross the continental United States, from coast to coast. The California Academy of Sciences invites you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior using the iNaturalist app. Here are the steps to take if interested:
Before the eclipse:
- Download the iNaturalist app on the App Store or Google Play and make an account.
- Practice making observations. Check out the Getting Started Guide for helpful tips.
- Join the Life Responds project on iNaturalist.
- Decide where you will be viewing the eclipse and know when the eclipse will be at maximum at your location. Use this map to help determine that time.
Once you arrive at your site, scout your area for animals and plants. Choose the individual organism(s) you want to observe. During the eclipse, make 3 separate observations for each individual organism using the iNaturalist app, adding each of them to the "Life Responds" project:
- 1st: 30 minutes before totality (or maximum coverage) make an observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the "Notes" section.
- 2nd: During the 5 minutes of totality (or maximum coverage) make a second observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the "Notes" section.
- 3rd: 30 minutes after totality (or maximum coverage) make a third and final observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the "Notes" section.
They welcome observations of your organism(s) beyond these three - just be sure to choose the time frame in which you made these other observations in "Before, During, or After Totality" field.
About the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse:
- This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years.
- Totality lasts a maximum of 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds.
- Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse.