NASA Goes Top Gun To Chase The Solar Eclipse In Jets For Stunning Views

nasa chases solar eclipse in jets across us 2
The total solar eclipse is just around the corner on April 8th, and millions of folks around the United States are getting ready to see it. That said, if you haven’t gotten your solar viewing glasses yet or done other necessary prep work, it might be a bit of a struggle to get it all in time. Thankfully, NASA will be out and about taking advantage of the celestial event and chasing it across the US in specialized jets used for earth science.

On April 8th, the moon will move in front of the Sun for some time, blocking out the light for a large swath of the United States and dimming the light for much of the rest. If you are looking to view it, you will need to take some safety precautions so as to not damage your eyes, and if you are looking to photograph it, there are some special tips and tricks to get a good photo. However, the weather might not be playing ball when the eclipse is slated to happen, so you might be out of luck regardless. Fear not though, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) might have your back by soaring high in the sky to collect data and photos.

You probably won’t catch them up at 50,000 feet, but three NASA WB-57 jet planes will be soaring above the clouds to collect scientific data surrounding the eclipse. Two teams will be tasked with imaging the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, while the third team will be on top of taking measurements of the Earth’s ionosphere, the upper electrically charged layer of the atmosphere. At the altitude and speed that the jets will be flying at, they will get to see the eclipse for a whopping 6 minutes and 22 seconds, which is 25% greater than any point on the ground.

With that in mind, this is a great opportunity to collect data and imagery that will help several fields in the scientific community. Namely, we will better understand the corona and solar winds as well as how solar radiation impacts the ionosphere which is important for radio transmission, GPS, and other technologies that operate in or through that altitude. However, NASA also has the best seats in the house, which we are extremely jealous of, and we cannot wait to see the images that come back from the experiments.

(Hero Image from NASA)