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Two WB-57 jets and a solar eclipse
The solar eclipse on August 21 will cross 14 states and will give millions of people a chance to see a once in a lifetime astronomical event. NASA will send up two WB-57 jets to photograph the eclipse so that a team of scientists can use the data for future research.
This illustration shows two NASA WB-57 jets flying during a solar eclipse.
WB-57 jet preparing for a test run
One of the WB-57 jets is being prepared for a test run at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The instruments are underneath the silver casing on the plane’s nose.
WB-57 jet with optical sensors on the nose
The two WB-57 jets will observe the total eclipse for about three and a half minutes each as they fly over Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. The jets will cruise over Tennessee as the eclipse is ending the period of totality.
Twin telescopes are mounted on the nose of each plane
Twin telescopes are mounted on the nose of each WB-57.
Each WB-57 will cruise at 50,000 feet altitude
At a cruising altitude of 50,000 feet, the sky is 20-30 times darker than as seen from the ground, with less atmospheric turbulence so that allowing fine structures and motions in the sun’s corona can be visible. These WB-57 jets will be chasing the eclipse in 2017.
Southern Research specialist will collect data from the stratosphere
Southern Research’s Donald Darrow will operate the AIRS instrument on a NASA WB-57 aircraft during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.
The AIRS/DyNAMITE optical sensor
Johanna Lewis, director of Engineering’s Program Management Office at Southern Research, poses with the AIRS/DyNAMITE optical sensor that will provide a unique look at the stratosphere during the 2017 eclipse.
Three WB-57 jets flying over Houston
NASA has three WB-57 jets and two will be used to collect images and data from the solar eclipse. Here are the three WB-57 jets flying over Houston.
Total solar eclipse
A stunning view of a total solar eclipse.
Phases of a total solar eclipse
This shows each phase of a solar eclipse from partial to totality before and after the eclipse.
2016 solar eclipse in Indonesia
Here is a Citizen CATE (Continental America Telescopic Eclipse) experiment total solar eclipse 2016 low tide image in Indonesia. It was taken in March 2016.
Partial solar eclipse
The moon is partially covering the sun in this image of a solar eclipse.
2016 solar eclipse in Indonesia
A view of totality in the Indonesian solar eclipse in 2016.
The mystical appearance of the sun's corona
Solar eclipse coming out of totality
This image shows a solar eclipse beginning to come out of totality, creating the much-photographed diamond-ring effect.
Solar eclipse image.
A camera and solar filter for photographing an eclipse
It’s important to use a solar filter when photographing a solar eclipse to prevent damage to your camera. It’s also essential to have a filter in place so that you do not damage your eye by viewing the eclipse through the camera lens.
Schoolchildren in Spain wearing solar eclipse protective glasses
Schoolchildren in Barcelona, Spain are seen here wearing protective solar eclipse glasses at Barceloneta beach during the 2015 eclipse.
Map of totality for 2017 solar eclipse
A map of the US showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.
1918 solar eclipse map
The last time a total solar eclipse spanned the continental US was in 1918. Here is a map of the 1918 total solar eclipse, from the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac for the Year 1918.
1979 solar eclipse map
The last total solar eclipse in the continental US was in 1979; totality was visible in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, as well as parts of Canada and Greenland. This 1979 map shows the solar eclipse path.
NASA's solar eclipse patch
NASA created a solar eclipse patch for the 2017 event.
- Two NASA jets will chase the solar eclipse for never-before-seen images and massive data collection (TechRepublic)
- Watch the solar eclipse of the century: When, where, and how (TechRepublic)
- How to take the best photos of a solar eclipse: Tips from the pros (TechRepublic)
- How to take video of a solar eclipse: Advice from the experts (TechRepublic)
- Video: How to be safe while viewing the 2017 solar eclipse (TechRepublic)
- Solar eclipse 101: This is why the sun disappears (CNET)
- How the total solar eclipse will steal your heart (CNET)
- NASA’s unsung heroes: The Apollo coders who put men on the moon (PDF) (TechRepublic)