NASA scientists to chase solar eclipse using special research jets

In News

Scientists are planning to chase the shadow of the Moon using NASA’s research jets during the upcoming total solar eclipse in the US, in order to capture the clearest ever images of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.

Taking observations from twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes will capture the clearest images of the Sun’s corona to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet’s surface.

Solar eclipse

  • As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse is a type of eclipse that occurs when Untitledthe Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks  the Sun.
  • This can happen only at new moon when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy.
  • In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon.
  • In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.

Why the study ?

The corona is heated to millions of degrees, yet the lower atmospheric layers like the photosphere, the visible surface of the Sun are only heated to a few thousand degrees. Scientists are not sure how this inversion happens.

The high-definition pictures, captured 30 times per second, will be analysed for wave motion in the corona to see if waves move towards or away from the surface of the Sun, and with what strengths and sizes.

Source : Indian Express

GS III : Awareness in the fields of Space


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