A team of NASA scientists has retrofitted powerful telescopes to the noses of a couple of research jets to chase and capture the upcoming solar eclipse across the U.S.
The longest time for anyone positioning themselves along the path of “totality” will be just minutes and forty seconds. Thus, scientists don’t want to leave any stone unturned to capture the rare celestial event that will occur on the 21st of August.
Researchers usually commission the U.S. space agency’s high-altitude WB-57F jets to perform things like capturing images of tropical cyclones or to gather information about clouds.
Solar astrophysicist Amir Caspi, of the Southwest Research Institute, said it was the first mission for airborne astronomy.
Caspi, who specializes in Sun’s high-energy processes, is the lead investigator on the project, which one of the nearly one dozen projects that NASA has selected to fund for the day of the solar eclipse.
The two jets will chase and capture the solar eclipse at an altitude of 50,000 feet. They will be high enough to provide scientists with quality, cloud-free footage without the expense of actually going to space.