Trio of NASA jets to follow shadow of Moon during upcoming Solar Eclipse

Posted by

New Delhi: The Solar Eclipse is a great opportunity for conducting scientific experiments to investigate how the sudden and temporary blockage of sunlight influences the atmosphere of the Earth, as well as the outer atmosphere or the corona of the Sun, which is generally hidden because of the sunlight. NASA will be flying its WB-57 jets in the shadow of the Moon during the eclipse, loaded with instruments to study the solar corona and the atmosphere.

The pilots will enjoy a longer eclipse

On Earth, the eclipse will be visible for a maximum of four and a half minutes. The jets will be able to observe the eclipse for a longer duration of time; more than six minutes and 22 seconds. The instruments will be able to observe the eclipse from an altitude of 50,000 feet. Two teams will be imaging the solar corona, while a third will investigate the ionosphere, which is the electrically charged upper layer of the atmosphere.

The Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most light

The instruments will be able to spot any asteroids close to the Sun during the eclipse, which would have otherwise be hidden in the glare of the Sun. The jets will be flying much above the altitude of commercial aeroplanes, as well as the clouds, ensuring that the observations will not be interrupted by unfavourable weather conditions. The atmosphere of the Earth absorbs most frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum, witsiteh the exception of radio waves and light visible to humans. The instruments can capture crisper images, and conduct observations in infrared light.

A better understanding of the Sun

The jets will be travelling at 740 kilometres per hour. Scientists hope to use the opportunity to better understand the structure of the solar corona, as well as the origin of solar wind, the soup of high energy particles streaming out of the Sun. Weather balloons and satellites will be observing the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, and NASA is also launching sounding rockets to conduct measurements at altitudes too high for weather balloons and too low for satellites.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *