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April’s total solar eclipse promises to be the best yet for experiments

Written by on April 1, 2024

The total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 will offer unprecedented opportunities for scientific study. The eclipse’s path, covering a densely populated corridor from Mexico through the U.S. to Canada, enables both professional scientists and “citizen scientists” to participate in a wide range of experiments. Activities planned include photographing the sun’s corona, observing animal behavior changes, and measuring temperature drops.

Rockets equipped with scientific instruments will launch into the ionosphere from Virginia to study the electrically charged part of the atmosphere near the edge of space. NASA plans to use high-altitude jets with improved telescopes to study the sun’s corona and surrounding dust, while over 600 weather balloons will capture atmospheric changes along the eclipse’s path.

This eclipse offers a rare chance to study the sun’s corona in detail, exploring phenomena such as coronal heating to temperatures significantly hotter than the sun’s surface. With the combination of ground-based observations, airborne instruments, and the involvement of spacecraft like NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the ESA’s Solar Orbiter, this event promises a wealth of data. The 2024 eclipse is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for both the scientific community and the public to witness and contribute to our understanding of solar phenomena.

Source: AP News

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