BLACKSBURG, Va. — An expert from Virginia Tech will lead an experiment to study the effects of the upcoming solar eclipse on different communication, safety and transportation systems we use on a normal bases. The eclipse is scheduled for August 21 and is being hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It has been 99 years since a total solar eclipse crossed the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic — specifically from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Greg Earle, a professor of electrical engineering, will head up a team of faculty, staff and students to study the effects of the eclipse on things like over-the-horizon radar, amateur radio, and even GPS. “Radio wave propagation is affected by the electrical part of the atmosphere and during the eclipse, we really have the opportunity to collect data and learn more about the impact of these changes on systems we’ve come to rely on,” said Earle.