Highschoolers release weather balloon for solar eclipse

ATHENS, Ala. - Obviously a number of schools across the Tennessee Valley used the Great American Solar Eclipse as an educational experience.

Some high schoolers turned the eclipse into a hands-on educational experience.

"We sent a weather balloon up with payload of GPS and a GoPro Omni which consists of 6 GoPros," explained senior Richard Conway.

That's $6300 worth of equipment they successfully launched into the atmosphere. The students started the project at the beginning of the school year and tracked everything along the way, including when and where in the county the balloon would land.

Not to mention, less than an hour before launch time, they had to make a last-minute run for more helium or else the mission would be a failure. The students and their teacher, Michael May, scrambled to get another tank and fill up the balloon to launch it minutes before they missed the event.

Troubleshooting the issues, they say, is great practice for the real world, and they got to lay back and enjoy the event.

"It was better than what I expected," said senior Leela Hyatt. "I thought it would be kind of a shadow and get a little dark but, we could see it really well. I'm just really happy it happened at a time that I could actually participate."

This is the third time some Golden Eagles released a weather balloon, the last two were in 2014 and 2012.

The students retrieved their device, but say a camera did fall off at some point.

So all Limestone County residents, if a GoPro camera fell out of the sky, you know who it rightfully belongs to!