New Delhi: In just a week, the entire continental United States will be able to witness the rare total solar eclipse.
For the first time in 99 years, the total solar eclipse will grace the American skies, allowing many to view the phenomenon right from their porches.
On August 21, 2017, the Earth will cross the shadow of the moon, creating a total solar eclipse. During the eclipse, the moon will pass between the Sun and Earth, blocking the face of the sun and leaving only its outer atmosphere, or corona, visible in the sky.
American space agency NASA estimates that more than 300 million people will be able to view the most awaited celestial event.
While people in the US are buzzing with excitement over the eclipse, sky gazers and space enthusiasts in India are quite disappointed about not being able to witness such a rare phenomenon.
Although NASA announced a live coverage of the eclipse, Space India – the Delhi-based Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators – will bring the US total solar eclipse on a YouTube channel.
Space India will live-stream the upcoming celestial event from the US, the company said in a statement on Saturday.
“This is an unique phenomenon. The path of the total solar eclipse will cut throughout the US and will be viewed by millions.
“Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse,” said Sachin Bahmba, Chairman and Managing Director at Space Group, who is leading the team from India for the expedition.
Amateur astronomers such as Yogeshwar Kanu Aggarwal, Luv Sharma, and Surinder Solanki, will accompany Bahmba, whose expedition includes taking photographs of all important phases observed during a total eclipse – called as “contacts.”
The team will also be able to get unique and amazing features such as “Diamond Ring” and “Bailys’ Beads” – which happens as pinpoints of light are passed through the uneven features and craters of the Moon when the moon is covering the sun.
The experiments will include studying the corona of the Sun which is only visible during an eclipse.
“The corona… gives valuable information about the temperature of the Sun’s atmosphere. Besides, temperature on Earth is expected to fall during the eclipse. So, the temperature will be recorded at different stages,” Bahmba explained.
The live streaming will be done from Idaho in the US using a 50 mm f/5 finderscope, a small auxiliary telescope mounted on an Astrotrac tracker – the main astronomical telescope – to follow the Sun.
The device will have a webcam and a solar filter fitted to it, which will enable streaming directly on the official YouTube channel of Space India and will also be available on the organisation’s website.
Space India recently organised a series of online interactions with Padma Y. Fisher, Senior Research Scientist at the Space Science Institute, California, to take students, researchers, and astronomers through a detailed experience of the total solar eclipse.
The interaction consisted of an interesting presentation on Total Solar Eclipse containing the information on different types of eclipses, reasons behind them, research work going on in this field.
Fisher will be heading a Citizen Science Experiment, on August 21, that is one of the 11 ground-based experiments being supported by NASA.
Space India had also conducted similar expeditions during other total solar eclipse in 2009 and annular solar eclipse in 2010.