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Folsom High School Students To Launch Eclipse Balloon

Courtesy of Tyler Johnstone / Folsom High School

Folsom High School students prepare to launch a high altitude balloon earlier this year. This weekend, students will launch their fourth balloon into the path of the upcoming solar eclipse.

Courtesy of Tyler Johnstone / Folsom High School

Some students from Folsom High School are getting ready to launch a helium-filled balloon into the path of Monday's solar eclipse.

Half-a-dozen Folsom High seniors and juniors have been planning the launch for the past several months under the direction of engineering teacher Tyler Johnstone.

"They're super excited. They're in here before school, after school, at lunch, working on the project," says Johnstone.

The high-altitude balloon will have GPS tracking on it...as well as four cameras to record video of the flight, the eclipse shadow and the sun. The balloon will then burst and parachute back down to earth where the students will recover it. Johnstone says the project is teaching kids - not just about the eclipse - but also about science and problem solving.

"One of our students is the designer," says Johnstone, "we have another student that's really good with coding so he's been working on the GPS tracker and another student that's our kind of our communications aspect and so he'll be the one that's in contact with the FAA. So each of the students has been a great part of our team."

The team heads to northern Oregon this weekend, the site of the launch. Oregon is where the eclipse's path of totality starts. 

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