Science

Solar Eclipse-Chasing Jets Aim to Solve the Mystery of the Sun’s Corona

As skywatchers across the United States gear up for what’s being heralded as the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse,” a team of scientists and pilots is preparing to capture what may be the best view of the August celestial event, from two jet aircraft flying at an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,200 meters), chasing the shadow of the moon as it sweeps across the country. The researchers will use cameras installed on two of NASA’s WB-57 research jets to make high-resolution moving observations of the sun’s corona — the ethereal streamers of glowing gas in the sun’s outermost atmosphere that only become visible during a solar eclipse.

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