Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

NASA Is Launching Rockets During Today’s Total Solar Eclipse — Here’s Why

NASA Animation showing a rocket just as it's launching.

Today, many of us will take a moment to admire the solar eclipse — meanwhile, scientists will be laser-focused on learning more about the sun and our atmosphere. To help them do this, they plan to launch three rockets. That’s because, as seen with past eclipses, this celestial event is the perfect chance for us to learn more about our world in ways we can’t otherwise.

For example, the 1919 solar eclipse gave evidence for Albert Einstein’s theory on gravity. More recently, the 2017 eclipse gave us insights into how solar activity could interfere with the International Space Station and communication infrastructure. This year, scientists hope to learn even more about these things.

Map indicating when viewers will have line-of-sight access to the rockets NASA is launching during the solar eclipse.

Their studies will include investigating the Earth’s upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) as it relates to radio communication, the sun’s outer atmosphere, and more. If this sounds like a lot to investigate in just about four minutes, you’re right! Luckily, there will be tons of scientists on the job who are ready to make the most of this short window of time.

In addition to the eclipse, you can also admire the moment NASA launches rockets for their scientific studies. You can catch a livestream below — it starts at 2:30 EST.

Watch NASA Launch Rockets During Today’s Solar Eclipse

“From a scientific perspective, there’s a lot of influence the sun puts on Earth and a lot of different ways we feel it here at the surface but also in the super atmosphere,” Jamie Favors, NASA’s director of its Space Weather Program, says.

Between the beauty of the solar eclipse and the incredible information scientists are sure to gain from their investigations, today is sure to be a memorable one!

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.