Lego Sherlock Holmes figure focuses a light beam on a Lego criminal with a small magnifying glass.

Eclipse Viewing with Mindstorms

LEGO Weather Station on the beach.

As I traveled to see the solar eclipse last week, I brought along the LEGO Weather Station described in Chapter 8 of "High-Tech LEGO". I placed the Weather Station on a beach at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, as shown in the photo above. Eclipse viewing as this location was a little complicated in that (1) it was cloudy and (2) it wasn’t quite in the path of complete totality of the eclipse with the moon covering 99.86% of the sun at maximum. I was most interested in the measurements of ambient light and temperature from the LEGO Weather Station, with results plotted below. The ambient light (blue dots) measurement shows an obvious feature of darkness during the eclipse. The ambient light level went to a minimum of 11%, with a little light from the sun still illuminating the sky at totality in the location of the measurements. The light level well after the eclipse reached around 70%. Without clouds, the ambient light level would have read closer to 100%. Temperature measurement (red dots) confirms that the eclipse created a drop in temperature of about 1.75-degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature drop lags in time from drop in light level, which makes sense.

Plot of temperature and ambient light during eclipse.