Me: MY BABYS FIT LIKE A DAY DREAM WALKING WITH HIS HEAD DOWN I’M THE ONE HE’S WALKING TOOOOOO SO CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT YEAH CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT TO MY BABY’S FLY LIKE A JET STREAM HIGH ABOVE THE WHOLE SCENE LOVES ME LIKE I’M BRAND NEW
On Monday, August 21, 2017, people in North America will have the chance to see an eclipse of the Sun. Anyone within the path of totality may see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse.
Along this path, the Moon will completely cover the Sun, revealing the Sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona. The path of totality will stretch from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse, where the Moon covers part of the Sun’s disk. Remember: you can never look at the Sun directly, and an eclipse is no exception – be sure to use a solar filter or indirect viewing method to watch partial phases of the eclipse.
Total solar eclipses are a rare chance to study the Sun and Earth in unique ways. During the total eclipse, scientists can observe the faintest regions of the Sun, as well as study the Sun’s effects on Earth’s upper atmosphere. We’ve been using eclipses to learn more about our solar system for more than 50 years. Let’s take a look back at five notable eclipses of the past five decades.
May 30, 1965
A total eclipse crossed the Pacific Ocean on May 30, 1965, starting near the northern tip of New Zealand and ending in Peru. Totality – when the Moon blocks all of the Sun’s face – lasted for 5 minutes and 15 seconds at peak, making this the 3rd-longest solar eclipse totality in the 20th century. Mexico and parts of the Southwestern United States saw a partial solar eclipse, meaning the Moon only blocked part of the Sun. We sent scientists to the path of totality, stationing researchers on South Pacific islands to study the response of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere to the eclipse.
Additionally, our high-flying jets, scientific balloons, and sounding rockets – suborbital research rockets that fly and collect data for only a few minutes – recorded data in different parts of the atmosphere. A Convair 990 research jet chased the Moon’s shadow as it crossed Earth’s surface, extending totality up to more than nine minutes, and giving scientists aboard more time to collect data. A NASA-funded team of researchers will use the same tactic with two jets to extend totality to more than 7 minutes on Aug. 21, 2017, up from the 2 minutes and 40 seconds observable on the ground.
March 7, 1970
The total solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, was visible in North America and the northwestern part of South America, with totality stretching to 3 minutes and 28 seconds at maximum. This was the first time a total eclipse in the United States passed over a permanent rocket launch facility – NASA’s Wallops Station (now Wallops Flight Facility) on the coast of Virginia. This eclipse offered scientists from NASA, four universities and seven other research organizations a unique way to conduct meteorology, ionospheric and solar physics experiments using 32 sounding rockets.
Also during this eclipse, the Space Electric Propulsion Test, or SERT, mission temporarily shut down because of the lack of sunlight. The experimental spacecraft was unable to restart for two days.
July 10, 1972
Two years later, North America saw another total solar eclipse. This time, totality lasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds at the longest. A pair of scientists from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, traveled to the Canadian tundra to study the eclipse – specifically, a phenomenon called shadow bands. These are among the most ephemeral phenomena that observers see during the few minutes before and after a total solar eclipse. They appear as a multitude of faint rapidly moving bands that can be seen against a white background, such as a large piece of paper on the ground.
While the details of what causes the bands are not completely understood, the simplest explanation is that they arise from atmospheric turbulence. When light rays pass through eddies in the atmosphere, they are refracted, creating shadow bands.
February 26, 1979
The last total solar eclipse of the 20th century in the contiguous United States was in early 1979. Totality lasted for a maximum of 2 minutes 49 seconds, and the total eclipse was visible on a narrow path stretching from the Pacific Northwest to Greenland. Agencies from Canada and the United States – including NASA – joined forces to build a sounding rocket program to study the atmosphere and ionosphere during the eclipse by observing particles on the edge of space as the Sun’s radiation was suddenly blocked.
July 31, 1981
The USSR got a great view of the Moon passing in front of the Sun in the summer of 1981, with totality lasting just over 2 minutes at maximum. Our scientists partnered with Hawaiian and British researchers to study the Sun’s atmosphere – specifically, a relatively thin region called the chromosphere, which is sandwiched between the Sun’s visible surface and the corona – using an infrared telescope aboard the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. The chromosphere appears as the red rim of the solar disk during a total solar eclipse, whereas the corona has no discernible color to the naked eye.
Watch an Eclipse: August 21, 2017
On August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States from coast to coast for the first time in 99 years, and you can watch.
You can also tune into nasa.gov/eclipselive throughout the day on Aug. 21 to see the eclipse like you’ve never seen it before – including a NASA TV show, views from our spacecraft, aircraft, and more than 50 high-altitude balloons.
I love that Taylor is performing on SNL next week cause like she’s gonna be going from singing about a guy named Joe who broke up with her on the phone to singing about a guy named Joe who’s fly like a jet stream high above the whole scene loves her like she’s brand new
Fires in large, open spaces like aircraft hangers can be difficult to fight with conventional methods, so many industrial spaces use foam-based fire suppression systems. These animations show such a system being tested at NASA Armstrong Research Center. When jet fuel ignites, foam and water are pumped in from above, quickly generating a spreading foam that floats on the liquid fuel and separates it from the flames. Since the foam-covered liquid fuel cannot evaporate to generate flammable vapors, this puts out the fire.
The shape of the falling foam is pretty fascinating, too. Notice the increasing waviness along the foam jet as it falls. Like water from your faucet, the foam jet is starting to break up as disturbances in its shape grow larger and larger. For the most part, though, the flow rate is high enough that the jet reaches the floor before it completely breaks up. (Image credit: NASA Armstrong, source)
This special weapon is called the Sting Ray. Holding down the fire button will fire a high-pressure jet of ink that can pierce walls. It’s so powerful that you can’t change direction quickly while firing. However, when you’re not firing, it allows you to see the location of opponents on the other side of walls.
This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.) In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. This disk forms as the dust and gas in the galaxy falls onto the hole, attracted by its gravity.
Also shown is an outflowing jet of energetic particles, believed to be powered by the black hole’s spin. The regions near black holes contain compact sources of high energy X-ray radiation thought, in some scenarios, to originate from the base of these jets. This high energy X-radiation lights up the disk, which reflects it, making the disk a source of X-rays. The reflected light enables astronomers to see how fast matter is swirling in the inner region of the disk, and ultimately to measure the black hole’s spin rate.
One of the most striking things about snorkeling in the Galapagos was how loud it was underwater. There were hardly any boats nearby, but every time my ears dipped below the surface, I could hear a constant cacophony of sound. Some it came from waves against the sand, some of it was the sound of parrotfish nibbling on coral, but a lot of it was likely the work of a culprit I couldn’t see hidden in the sand: the pistol shrimp.
These small crustaceans hunt with an oversized claw capable of snapping shut at around 100 kph. When the two halves of the claw come together, they push out a high-speed jet of water. High velocity means low pressure - a low enough pressure, in fact, to drop nearby water below its vapor pressure, causing bubbles to form and expand. These cavitation bubbles collapse quickly under the hydrostatic pressure of the surrounding water, creating a distinctive pop that makes the pistol shrimp one of the loudest sea creatures around. (Image credit: BBC Earth Unplugged, source; research credit: M. Versluis et al.)
All week we’re celebrating the Galapagos Islands here on FYFD. Check out previous posts in the series here.
One time my friends and I decided to have a bubble bath, and at first there weren’t any bubbles so we dumped soap into the water and put the jets on high. Then we left the room to get food and when we returned the whole bathroom was submerged in bubbles, so we jumped in.