NASA to launch three sounding rockets during solar eclipse

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 06-04-2024 11:30 IST | Created: 06-04-2024 11:30 IST
NASA to launch three sounding rockets during solar eclipse
Image Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.

During the upcoming total solar eclipse, NASA will be launching three Black Brant IX sounding rockets for the Atmospheric Perturbations around Eclipse Path (APEP) mission. The trio is scheduled to lift off approximately 45 minutes before, during, and after the peak local eclipse, at 2:40 p.m., 3:20 p.m., and 4:05 p.m. on April 8 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility launch range in Virginia.

The APEP sounding rockets will study the disturbances in the ionosphere - the boundary between Earth's lower atmosphere and the vacuum of space - created when the Moon eclipses the Sun.

"Understanding the ionosphere and developing models to help us predict disturbances is crucial to making sure our increasingly communication-dependent world operates smoothly," says Aroh Barjatya, a professor of engineering physics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

You can watch the launches live on Wallops' official YouTube page beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The next total solar eclipse over the contiguous U.S. is not until 2044, so these experiments are a rare opportunity for scientists to collect crucial data, NASA said in a statement.

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