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Environment & Science

Do animals act differently during an eclipse? Citizen science app aims to find out




In this handout image provided by National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the solar eclipse is seen on July 22, 2009 near Iwojima Island, Tokyo, Japan. The longest total eclipse of the sun of this century triggered tourist fever in Asia as astronomy enthusiasts from home and abroad flocked to watch the event The eclipse was visible from within a narrow corridor that begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China.
In this handout image provided by National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the solar eclipse is seen on July 22, 2009 near Iwojima Island, Tokyo, Japan. The longest total eclipse of the sun of this century triggered tourist fever in Asia as astronomy enthusiasts from home and abroad flocked to watch the event The eclipse was visible from within a narrow corridor that begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China.
Handout/Getty Images

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It's a week from today...the most eagerly awaited celestial event of the year: the total eclipse.

The last time one was visible across the entire contiguous United States was, not THAT long ago.... just over ONE HUNDRED YEARS!

People are getting dark glasses so they can safely look at the sun, figuring out if they can photograph the eclipse with their smart phones, planning parties and worried about a drop in solar power. 

But here's something you might not have thought about. WE know it's coming. But what about our animal friends? They don't. At least they haven't said anything about it. 

So, how will animals react?

There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that animals do act differently, but not a lot of scientific studies. 

Until now.

There's a project in the works that's relying on the average joe to record their observations in an effort to uncover whether animals do behave differently during this event. 

It's a part of the California Academy of Science in San Francisco's iNaturalist app, a citizen science platform.

Elise Ricard is the public program's supervisor. She spoke with A Martinez about how the app works and what they're hoping to find out.

To listen to the full segment, click the blue play button above.