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And they’re off!

Rising higher into the Kentucky sky, researchers from UAH released weather balloons Monday in order to study the atmosphere before — during — and after the eclipse.

“Today we’re releasing weather balloons at set increments in  accordance to the solar eclipse that occurred,” UAH graduate research assistant Alex Staarmann said.

“Basically [we want] to capture the lowest one mile of the atmosphere and how it responds and how it changes and varies according to the decrease and then the subsequent increase as a result of the total solar eclipse.”

Researchers from UAH are researching the lower atmosphere before, during, and after the total eclipse in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on August 21, 2017. (Photo: WHNT)

“We are studying what happens during false night in the boundary layer, “UAH undergraduate research student Joy Marich explained.

“False night is pretty much when totality of the sun happens, so cut off of solar radiation. And sometimes that can affect the weather.”

By observing an “accelerated sunset” in the middle of the afternoon, the unique data can be used for modeling cumulus cloud growth and other micro-climate weather phenomenon.

The UAH researchers are taking this potentially once in a lifetime opportunity to observe how the diminished sunlight affects the weather within the first mile above the ground.