On Aug. 21, a group of students launched 11 weather balloons with the hope of filming something fascinating. It was the morning of the total solar eclipse, and they wanted to see the moon’s shadow cross the face of the Earth.

The balloons were launched with cameras attached in the path of totality across five states from Oregon to Missouri. The Earth to Sky Calculus group shared photos of the launch process on Facebook, including the moment of liftoff for some of the balloons.

The mission successfully filmed the moon’s shadow racing toward the balloon, and the subsequent darkness when the balloon itself was beneath the total eclipse.

Earth to Sky Calculus is a “group of kids doing cutting-edge science.” They launch weather balloons from Bishop, Calif., with tethered experiments destined for the stratosphere, more than 10 miles above the ground.

The kids create their own experiments and determine how to successfully launch the balloon. Their research centers on radiation in the upper atmosphere, including fascinating tests with Mars in mind, and developing a biological radiation sensor.

The students are given the “freedom to fail,” according to their website, which promotes real-life learning.