Total Solar Eclipse


A total solar eclipse only lasts for a few minutes, but in that short window lies bountiful knowledge of Earth and space. Helium was discovered and relativity was proven through eclipse research. Learn how UMaine students and researchers are exploring the cosmic wonder on April 8, and join them on the adventure.


Stargazing with Versant Power Astronomy Center team

April 7, 8 p.m.

Town Office, 369 Main St., Jackman, Maine 04945

Eclipse viewing with Versant Power Astronomy Center team

April 8, 1:30–5 p.m.

Town Office, 369 Main St., Jackman, Maine 04945

High altitude balloon launch

April 8

Location TBD

Versant Power Astronomy Center shows

Other UMaine Programs

Maine 4-H Solar Eclipse Series

March 21– April 11, Thursdays at 4 p.m.


4-H Science Fridays at UMaine Machias: Eclipse Investigations

March 22, 3 p.m.

Science Building, 116 O’Brien Ave., Machias, Maine

Learn about the Upcoming Solar Eclipse! Program for Kids

March 30, 10 a.m.

Blue Hill Public Library, Blue Hill, Maine

Chick Hill Eclipse Hike

April 8, 1-6 p.m.

Chick Hill, Clifton, Maine


A photo of a total solar eclipse

UMaine projects expanding nationwide access to 2024 total solar eclipse

A photo of a high altitude balloon over UMaine's campus

UMaine project will livestream total solar eclipse from the stratosphere 

A photo of researchers in front of screen in the astronomy center

UMaine astronomers coordinating citizen science research on total solar eclipse in Northeast 

The Maine Question podcast: How do I experience a total solar eclipse?

Mainers are helping collect images and data of the total solar eclipse for a nationwide citizen science project: CATE2024. UMaine’s Shawn Laatsch and Nikita Saini trained them how to use specialized telescopes to conduct their work. 

Meet the researchers

A portrait of Shawn Laatsch

Shawn Laatsch

Director, Versant Power Astronomy Center

For 30 years, Laatsch has worked for and directed planetariums across the U.S. and delivered astronomy shows and lectures worldwide, and has witnessed five total solar eclipses. He serves as the Northeast coordinator for NASA’s eclipse citizen science project: CATE2024.

A portrait of Nikita Sani

Nikita Saini

Ph.D. Candidate, Physics

Saini has been training citizen scientists in Maine and the Northeast for NASA’s eclipse citizen science project: CATE2024. She works for the Versant Power Astronomy Center and is a teaching assistant with the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

A photo of Rick Eason

Rick Eason

Associate Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Eason directs the UMaine High Altitude Ballooning Program, which he founded in 2011 with funding from the Maine Space Grant Consortium. He’s launched and recovered more than 145 high altitude balloons, including two during the 2017 solar eclipse, and others in places as far away as Hawaii, Kenya and Spain.

A portrait of Andy Sheaff

Andy Sheaff

Lecturer and facilities support, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sheaff has been involved with UMaine’s High Altitude Ballooning Program since 2015, and has participated in several eclipse-related projects. At UMaine, he teaches the first-year introductory course in electrical and computer engineering, circuit theory, Linux systems administration and the senior capstone design course sequence. Other projects include a communications system for cave rescue incidents and environmental data collection and logging.