OXFORD, Ohio — The solar eclipse is still weeks away, but some students and teachers in the path of totality have been practicing for months. They’re planning to study what happens during the eclipse and they only get one shot.

What You Need To Know

  • Students and teachers in the path of totality in Oxford have been practicing on an advanced telescope to study the sun and moon 

  • During the eclipse on April 8, they'll use the telescope to capture detailed images of the sun's "corona"

  • The images and research are part of a grant program that will be used for further scientific research on the sun's corona, in a documentary, and to help get more young women into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)    

Olivia Freeman is bringing the gear to get ready for the moment everyone’s waiting to see.

"I’m super excited — the last eclipse I saw I was in the 5th grade,” said Freeman.

Now a college student in engineering, she’s not just going to be watching the upcoming solar eclipse, but studying it.

“To be able to know what an eclipse means, how cool it actually is, and how to properly view it and view it in such a cool way with this awesome telescope is just amazing,” said Freeman.

She’s one of close to a dozen Miami University and Talawanda High School students practicing for the big eclipse day on April 8.

They've been coming out at night for the last few months using the moon as their guide to peek into space through a telescope but it’s not just any telescope. It’s an advanced one that science teacher Heidi Schran, helped get through a National Science Foundation grant. With the telescope, she says they can get to the sun’s ‘corona.’

“The sun’s corona is actually the hottest part of the sun, it’s kinda counterintuitive because you would think the hottest part would be in the center, but it’s actually above the surface, so the only time we get to study that from Earth is when there’s a total solar eclipse,” said Schran. 

As a part of the grant program, those detailed images they capture will be used for three things, a documentary, scientific research on the sun's corona, and to get more young women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“It’s important just to be able to get those different perspectives and the different kinds of people involved in stem because everybody has a lot to offer and everybody has different perspectives in science and can all contribute to projects like this,” said Freeman.

It's a project that so far has taken months of practice for that one moment of a total eclipse.

“It's something I'm going to take with me and hopefully, carry on in my studying of chemical engineering, and hopefully, it leads me to a career that I love,” said Freeman.

Researchers say there are 70 other teams working on this across the country. They're all in the path of totality. Their images and work will be used to help scientists, from NASA to university researchers, learn more about the sun.