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Facts About 2024 Solar Eclipse


On Monday, when an extremely rare complete solar eclipse crosses the United States, scientists will have the opportunity able to collect priceless data regarding a variety of topics, including the Sun's atmosphere, unusual behaviors of animals, and possible effects on people.

As the Sun approaches the apex of its 11-year solar cycle, it will produce the ideal conditions for an amazing show: the corona will gleam brilliantly from the Moon's silhouette along the path of totality, which is a corridor that runs from Mexico via the United States to Canada.

At a press briefing last week, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy described complete solar eclipses as "incredible scientific opportunity."

One organization prepared for the eclipse is the US Space Agency, which intends to launch "sounding rockets" to observe its impact on Earth's upper atmosphere.

The following is a list of items that scientists anticipate finding during the next eclipse:

Sun's Atmosphere

Melroy stated that the elusive corona, or outermost edge of the Sun's atmosphere, will become visible "in an unusual way" when the Moon passes squarely in the path of the Sun and blocks it.

One organization prepared for the eclipse is the US Space Agency, which intends to launch "sounding rockets" to observe its impact on Earth's upper atmosphere.

The following is a list of items that scientists hope to discover during the next eclipse:

According to Shannon Schmoll, director of Michigan State University's Abrams Planetarium, "during an eclipse, the bottommost part of the corona. 

Where a lot of this motion occurs—is more readily apparent than when using specialized instruments to block the central part of the Sun, offering a golden opportunity for study."

The fact that the Sun is getting close to the end of its 11-year cycle excites scientists in particular.

"There's an extremely good chance that we will witness something that's truly amazing," Melroy stated.

Animal Behavior

During eclipses, giraffes have been noticed observed running, while crickets and roosters have been observed to begin chirping and crowing. These observations are stunning.

Animals are sensitive to shifts in temperature and wind, which can occur during an eclipse in addition to a decrease in sunlight.

Using weather-related radar to find birds in flight, Cornell University ornithology researcher Andrew Farnsworth investigates the impact of eclipses on birds.

Scientists noticed a "decline in the number of animals flying around" during a particularly recent complete total solar eclipse which was visible from the United States in August 2017, Farnsworth told reporters.

The expert stated that although the 2017 eclipse disturbed insects' and birds' usual behaviors, it did not cause animals to engage in their typical nocturnal activities, such as bats emerging or birds migrating.

Given that it's in April this time, he stated that birds would be more likely to migrate during the eclipse.

According to Farnsworth, these types of patterns are crucial for comprehending how animals view the world around them.

Earth's Atmosphere

The total eclipse will give scientists a chance to examine changes in the ionosphere, a region of the upper atmosphere that is significant because it influences the radio waves that are utilized for navigation and communication.

"Changes in this stratum could result in problems with GPS and communications," stated Kelly Korreck, the manager of NASA's eclipse program.

The Sun affects the ionosphere, the region where Earth's atmosphere meets space, by electrically charging particles that reside there during the day.

To measure these alterations, NASA's three sounding rockets are scheduled to be launched from Virginia prior to, during, and shortly after the eclipse.

More quickly and locally than a typical sunset, the eclipse caused a significant drop in illumination, which might assist scientists understand the way light impacts the ionosphere and anticipate any potentially dangerous disruptions.

Human Wonder

"Eclipses possess a unique power. They inspire awe for the magnificence of the cosmos in humanity, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters.

In 2017, researchers examined the feeling of wonder using data from approximately three million Twitter users, or X.

According to Paul Piff, a psychology professor at the University of California, Irvine, those in the so-called "path of totality," in which the Moon will completely obstruct the Sun, have a propensity to employ the pronoun "WE" and demonstrate concern about other people.

"We're discovering that encounters that evoke amazement... appear to synchronize individuals and establish connections with one another, as well as with entities that transcend our own selves," Piff stated.

He intends to find out whether the event affects societal divides this year.

Citizen Scientists

About forty citizen scientific projects are scheduled in relation to the eclipse. 

These efforts range from collecting background noise during the event to utilizing an application for smartphones to track temperature and cloud cover.

We encourage you to assist NASA in observing what is happening around you.

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