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Business News/ Science / NASA to launch 3 rockets in April during total Solar Eclipse 2024; Find out why, other details here
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NASA to launch 3 rockets in April during total Solar Eclipse 2024; Find out why, other details here

NASA is headed for three space missions next month. The purpose of these space missions is to delve into the study of atmospheric disturbances triggered by the solar eclipse and gain an insight of its possible impact on satellite signals and radio frequencies.

NASA's rockets will carry specific equipment into the ionosphere to study atmospheric disturbances triggered by the solar eclipse. (Craig Bailey/Florida Today via AP)Premium
NASA's rockets will carry specific equipment into the ionosphere to study atmospheric disturbances triggered by the solar eclipse. (Craig Bailey/Florida Today via AP)

NASA is headed for three space missions next month. As per Weather.com report the US space agency plans to launch three rockets 260 miles above Earth at the crucial moment when total solar eclipse will be taking strides on April 8.

The purpose of these space missions is to delve into the study of atmospheric disturbances triggered by the solar eclipse and gain an insight of its possible impact on satellite signals and radio frequencies.

Also read: Solar Eclipse 2024: Mark your calendars! Total solar eclipse set to dazzle in April | 10 points

Hence, the launched rockets will carry specific equipment into the ionosphere to accomplish the objective. The study would focus on atmospheric disturbances triggered by the eclipse that could interfere with satellite signals and radio frequencies.

Also read: Solar Eclipse 2024: Will this rare celestial event be visible in India? When, where to watch, and other details here

What is ionosphere?

The ionosphere is among one of the several layers that make up Earth’s atmosphere that gradually and eventually transition to space. The weather conditions in ionosphere affect satellite communications and GPS signals pass through it.

“At the top is a layer of extra electrons that have been broken up, or ionized," weather.com quoted meteorologist Jonathan Belles as saying.

Also read: Total solar eclipse 2024: First celestial event to occur on THIS date. Will it be visible in India? All details here

Jonathan Belles added, “This is the ionosphere. This is the layer that allows for many forms of communication to take place around the world. Without it, waveforms would leak out into space and that communication would be gone forever."

Weather conditions in the ionosphere change as temperature and other characteristics of the atmospheric layer undergo changes during sunset. According to NASA, the atmospheric conditions in the ionosphere will rapidly change during the solar eclipse generating atmospheric waves that will assist scientists to examine the disruptions in the ionosphere.

Also read: Solar Eclipse 2024: US aviation agency issues air travel warning ahead of April 8 Surya Grahan; Details here

Preparations have also been made by researchers to study the ionosphere from the ground during the solar eclipse. 

Director of Embry-Riddle's Space and Atmospheric Instrumentation Lab, Aroh Barjatya in a press release said, “Understanding the ionosphere and developing models to help us predict disturbances is crucial to making sure our increasingly communication-dependent world operates smoothly," reported weather.com.

Also read: Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Live Updates: When, where and how to watch Surya Grahan in India today

The mission, spearheaded by scientists at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, will see rockets each standing at about 55 feet tall, launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. They will launch 45 minutes apart starting at 2:40 pm EDT. It is important to note that the same rockets were deployed for an annular solar eclipse last year.

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Published: 31 Mar 2024, 10:33 AM IST
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