UNK’s Lazarova is Citizen CATE Experiment coordinator for solar eclipse

Mariana Lazarova
Mariana Lazarova

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney physics and astronomy professor Mariana Lazarova is the Citizen CATE Experiment state coordinator for Nebraska and site coordinator for Ravenna.

The Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) Experiment will capture images of the sun’s inner corona during the Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse, using more than 60 telescopes operated by area scientists, high school groups and universities.

Volunteers from more than 20 high schools, 20 universities, informal education groups, astronomy clubs, five national science research labs and five corporate sponsors from across the country are involved in the experiment.

The goal of CATE is to produce a scientifically unique data set – high resolution, rapid-cadence white light images – of the inner corona for 90 minutes.

Lazarova will work with two students from the UNK Society of Physics for the project – Austin Ryan, a senior astrophysics major, and Gabe Wieczorek, a senior physics major.

From Bulgaria, Lazarova came to the United States for undergraduate and graduate school, and is now an assistant professor for the UNK Physics and Astronomy Department. She studies the host galaxies of quasars using the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.

For the CATE experiment, volunteers will track the sun using 68 identical telescopes, software and instrument packages spaced along the 2,500-mile path of totality. Each site will produce more than 1,000 images.

Kearney will experience totality (total coverage) at 12:57:30 p.m., and the duration is 1 minute, 54 seconds. Partial coverage begins at Kearney at about 11:30 a.m. and continues until about 2:30 p.m.

Resulting data from the CATE experiment will consist of 90 minutes of continuous, high resolution and rapid-cadence images detailing the sun’s inner corona – a region of the solar atmosphere typically very challenging to create images of.


Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu
Source: Mariana Lazarova, 308.865.8145, lazarovam2@unk.edu