The National Eclipse Weather Experiment: use and evaluation of a citizen science tool for schools outreach

Antonio M. Portas*, Luke Barnard, Chris Scott, R. Giles Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The National Eclipse Weather Experiment (NEWEx) was a citizen science project for atmospheric data collection from the partial solar eclipse of 20 March 20. Its role as a tool for schools outreach is discussed here, in seeking to bridge the gap between self-identification with the role of a scientist and engagement with science, technology, engineering andmathematics subjects. (The science data generated have had other uses beyond this, explored elsewhere.) We describe the design of webforms for weather data collection, and the use of several external partners for the dissemination of the project nationwide. We estimate that up to 3500 pupils and teachers took part in this experiment, through the 127 schools postcodes identified in the data submission. Further analysis revealed that 43.3% of the schools were primary schools and 35.4% were secondary. In total, 96.3% of participants reported themselves as captivated or inspired by NEWEx. We also found that 60% of the schools that took part in the experiment lie within the highest quintiles of engagement with higher education, which emphasizes the need for the scientific community to be creative when using citizen science projects to target hard-to-reach audiences. This article is part of the themed issue Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150223
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2077
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


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