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Scientists Chase After the Total Solar Eclipse Using NASA Jet Planes

Byeditor

Apr 3, 2024

Solar eclipses have historically been instrumental in driving various scientific discoveries, leading to groundbreaking research. In anticipation of the upcoming solar eclipse, NASA has allocated funding for several scientific experiments, three of which will be conducted using the WB-57s aircraft. These aircraft are operated by NASA and fly at altitudes much higher than commercial airplanes, allowing them to soar above cloud cover and avoid potential disruptions caused by inclement weather.

The high altitude at which the WB-57s operate also enables them to bypass most of Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in clearer image capture and the ability to detect wavelengths such as infrared light that may not reach the ground. With a cruising speed of 460 miles per hour, the aircraft have the advantage of being able to extend the duration of their time in the Moon’s shadow during the eclipse.

While the solar eclipse will last a maximum of four and a half minutes at any given location on the ground, the WB-57s will experience an eclipse lasting over six minutes and twenty-two seconds due to their speed and altitude. This extended duration provides scientists with a unique opportunity to gather valuable data and conduct research that may lead to new discoveries in the field of astronomy.

By editor

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