Solar Eclipse August 2017 – Real-Time Solar Energy Data Reported from Solar Tracker (Paulson Stadium)

Real-Time Solar Energy Data

During the Eclipse on August 21st, 2018

Dr. David Calamas, PhD

Christopher Nutter, RA

Brandon Kimmons, Director, CRTS





  • There are three primary measures of solar irradiance (incident solar energy).
  • A direct component, known as Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), which is the amount of solar radiation received per unit area by a surface normal to the that arrives on a direct path.
  • A diffuse component, known as Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI), which is the amount of solar radiation received per unit area by a surface that does not arrive on a direct path (i.e. it has been scattered in the atmosphere and arrives from all directions).
  • A global component, known as Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI), which is the amount of shortwave solar radiation received per unit area. It includes both DNI and DHI components and is a useful metric for photovoltaic (PV) panel performance.
  • The data was recorded once per minute.
  • The data has been presented for a time period beginning two hours before the start of partial eclipse and ending two hours after the end of partial eclipse.
  • Eclipse times from NASA [1]


[1] Young, A., 2017, Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map, NASA, <>.


(Click the chart to enlarge, back button to return)




  • During the two weeks leading up to the Eclipse on August 21st 2017, Computational Research and David Calamas of the Mechanical Engineering department the PI of the solar tracker project worked to ready the solar tracker to collect data from the eclipse.  The solar tracker is located at Paulson Stadium mounted on the back side of the press box. Dr. Calamas’ Research Assistant Christopher Nutter worked to ensure the sensors were cleaned and wired correctly for the event, Chris also updated the tracker software that runs on a research virtual machine supported by Computational Research. We also thank Tracy Ham, Nick Scull, and Robert Futch for assisting with access to the stadium press box.

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