BCTC group describes NASA eclipse project as "just beautiful"

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - "Once we let it go it was like a huge relief because nothing went wrong."

Alex Eberle is a sophomore at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). Eberle was part of a team of students and staff at BCTC that launched an 8-foot-tall, helium-filled balloon to an altitude of 75,000 feet to capture Monday's solar eclipse.

"We were able to get it up; the balloon was in tact."

The team described it as an unforgettable moment.

"You can see the areas of the earth. The curvature that are still lit by the sun and not in the shadow. It's just beautiful," said Professor Tracy Knowles

55 teams across the nation participated in the project sponsored by NASA. Each live-streamed footage of the total solar eclipse. The students traveled to Paducah where they were able to live stream the eclipse using five go-pros at around 30,000 feet before losing connection.

"But those things happen, and we still got some really amazing images from the camera," Eberle described.

Even after the stream ended, the balloon traveled 75-thousand feet before popping. The balloons landed about 30 miles away from where they initially launched in a rock quarry.

Prof. Knowles says it's amazing to know that everyone the group will remember exactly where they were for the 2017 solar eclipse.

"The eclipse was amazing. I mean we were in the path of totality. So after we launched everything, all of our students came over, we all sat down and watched it together."

Because of this project, it was the first time there was a live broadcast of high-altitude video of the total solar eclipse.

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