Rockets and planes will chase the eclipse to solve the eternal mysteries of the sun

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By journalsofus.com


Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. To receive it in your inbox, Register for free here.



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Here comes the sun, as the Beatles sang.

On Monday, a Total solar eclipse will grace the skies of Mexico, the United States and Canada as the moon obscures the view of the sun, momentarily turning day into night.

Millions of people will be along the way to witness the development of the celestial phenomenon. As the eclipse creates a syzygy, or the alignment of three bodies in space, it will unite viewers in moments of awe.

Totality, when the sunlight dims briefly, plays with emotions. You know it’s coming, but the sudden change is still very unexpected, and it’s something I personally hope to experience for the first time when reporting from my own place on the path.

So take your eclipse glassessavor eclipse-themed delights and prepare a star-themed playlist (“Total Eclipse of the Heart,” anyone?). Soon it will be time to indulge in a little wonder and cosmic fantasy.

Amir Caspi/Courtesy NASA

NASA’s WB-57 aircraft will fly within the path of totality on Monday to collect data about the Sun during the eclipse.

High-altitude planes will fly within the path of Monday’s eclipse to unravel some of the biggest unsolved secrets about the sun

Three sounding rockets will lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia before, during and after the eclipse to measure the sun’s impact on Earth’s upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere.

Meanwhile, NASA is equipping its WB-57 aircraft with scientific instruments as they fly 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) above the Earth’s surface to get a clear view of the sun’s outer atmosphere. Called a corona, it is millions of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun, but scientists don’t know why.

The faint corona will be visible during the eclipse when sunlight is blocked, allowing researchers to take a closer look at its mysterious glowing structures.

Packing for your travels during the eclipse or trying to decide what to wear on Monday? An ingenious optical phenomenon that occurs during the celestial event could make you lean more towards red and green.

More than two centuries ago, physiologist Jan Evangelista Purkyně observed the difference between red flowers that appear on sunny days and at night. The Purkinje effect explains why some colors appear differently depending on the lighting.

For example, in low light, bright reds appear dark or almost black, while blues and greens increase in intensity. And the rapid contrast of an eclipse makes this effect evident.

Send us your eclipse stories and photos!

Are you viewing the eclipse from the path of totality? Did you travel far and gather with family and friends to witness the event? Or is your hometown in the way of what for many is a once-in-a-lifetime show? Everyone has their own eclipse story to tell and we want to hear yours! Send images* and some details about your eclipse experience to scientific bulletin@cnn.com, and could end up in CNN’s current Eclipse Across America coverage. Share your full name and pronouns for credit information and captions.

Eric Adams/AP

A total solar eclipse is visible through the clouds as seen from the island of Vágar, one of the Faroe Islands, on March 20, 2015.

As the eclipse approaches, many people struggling to make or change your plans — and the climate is playing a big role in throwing some unexpected curveballs.

Advance planning is key, but many made travel and flight reservations for areas within the path of totality based on historical data on spring weather patterns.

Now, Mother Nature is doing a bit of a turn and areas that normally experience cloudiness and inclement weather are clear, and the opposite is true in other parts of the country.

However, Not all clouds will remain on the big day.. Shallow cumulus clouds largely dissipate even when just a fraction of the sun’s light is blocked, and new research has revealed Why don’t they reform until after the eclipse? has passed.

Eclipse mania may seem common, but these celestial events can be a more spiritual and reflective experience for some, depending on religion or culture.

Hindus consider an eclipse to be a bad omen, while many Muslims see the phenomenon as a time for prayer and spiritual contemplation.

Meanwhile, some Christians have interpreted the temporary darkening of the sky as a sign that the “end times” are approaching.

And the Navajo regard eclipses with solemnity, marking them as a time to show reverence and respect for the sun and the Earth.

POT

The final shuttle Columbia crew included (from left) NASA astronauts David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, and William McCool and Ilan Ramon of the Israeli Space Agency.

When Columbia took off on its maiden flight in 1981, it launched NASA’s space shuttle program and ushered in a new era of exploration.

But nearly 22 years later, the old shuttle’s 28th flight ended in disaster when it broke up over East Texas, killing all seven crew members.

The tragedy marked the beginning of the end of the shuttle program. As it did Such a revolutionary idea went so wrong.?

Explore new details explaining what ultimately led to the disaster in a four-part CNN original series, “Space Shuttle Columbia: The Final Flight,” premiering Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Catch up on these fun reads before focusing on the eclipse:

— Scientists found a multitude of new species, including one Barbie walking: pink sea pigduring a deep-sea expedition 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

— The endangered Indochinese leopard and the flat-headed cat are two of the wild cats that roam the Malaysian rainforest. TO new photo series presents a rare glimpse to several of the notoriously elusive species.

– A Asian elephant bathed in sunlight.Polar bears training and blue-footed boobies are just some of the images featured in a sale of fine art photographs inspired by the legacy of primatologist Jane Goodall, who turned 90 on Wednesday.

Do you like what you have read? Ah, but there is more. sign up here to receive the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by CNN Space and Science writers, delivered to your inbox Ashley Strickland and katie hunt. They find wonders on planets beyond our solar system and discoveries from the ancient world.

*Any material submitted is subject to the following terms. I agree that CNN may use my photos/video (“Material”) in all CNN media, worldwide in perpetuity along with affiliate distribution. I also confirm that I am the exclusive owner and rights holder of the Material, that I did not create the Material using AI, and that I have all rights necessary to authorize the use of this Material at this URL.

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