Fireballs can appear during a solar eclipse in parts of the United States. NASA says it’s for research

As if the disappearance of the sun at midday wasn’t scary enough, NASA plans to add multiple trails of fire to parts of the East Coast sky during this time. the solar eclipse of April 8.

“Three sounding rockets will be launched before, during and after the local eclipse peak to study how Earth’s upper atmosphere is affected when sunlight momentarily decreases over part of the planet,” NASA said in a press release.

“For those in the Mid-Atlantic region, weather permitting, launches may be visible.”

NASA’s alert included a warning that viewers should not remove special solar eclipse glasses to view the flares.

The three rockets will come from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA predicted they could be visible from southern Pennsylvania to North Carolina and as far west as eastern Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.

One will launch 45 minutes before the eclipse, another during the eclipse and one 45 minutes after the peak, NASA said. They will reach a maximum altitude of 260 miles – “too high for scientific balloons and too low for satellites”.

Scientists are particularly studying how the eclipse could “interfere with our communications”.

“As the eclipse shadow passes through the atmosphere, it creates a rapid, localized sunset that triggers large-scale atmospheric waves and small-scale disturbances,” NASA said.

“These disturbances affect different radio communication frequencies. Collecting data on these disruptions will help scientists validate and improve current models that help predict potential disruptions to our communications, particularly those at high frequency.

The eclipse offers researchers a unique opportunity because scientists will know exactly when and where to fire their rockets to get the best readings, NASA said.

Forecasters say the eclipse will cross The Pacific coast of Mexico from 11:07 a.m. PDTthen enter the United States where “the sky will darken as at dawn or dusk.”

States directly…

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