NASA scientist explains what researchers are looking forward to - KPTV - FOX 12

Total Solar Eclipse

NASA scientist explains what researchers are looking forward to with the eclipse

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The upcoming total solar eclipse is a huge event across the country, and some researchers are even describing it as like the Super Bowl for science.

Dr. Nicholeen Viall from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center told FOX 12 that the eclipse would offer scientists opportunities to see things around the sun they typically could not.

“During the total phase of the solar eclipse, what you get to see is the atmosphere of the sun. That is called the solar corona,” she explained. “It’s amazing, you usually don’t get to see the solar corona because it is so much less bright than the photosphere below it.”

Viall suggested that anyone traveling to see the eclipse should make sure to take eclipse glasses and a pinhole projectors to watch the partial phases of the eclipse.

She also noted that people can stand under a tree during the event and the leaves would serve as a pinhole projectors, marking the ground with small crescents as the eclipse happens.

While the U.S. has had to wait 38 years since its last total solar eclipse, after Monday, fans of the event will only have to wait eight years for the next one.

Viall said that event, expected on April 8, 2024, will be an annular eclipse.

“An annular eclipse is when the moon comes right in between the earth and the sun, but because of its distance from the earth, it doesn’t totally block out that main body of the sun,” she explained. “You’re not in totality, it’s not safe to look at that. You have to use these indirect methods or these solar glasses.

NASA has a full site dedicated to the upcoming eclipse. To learn more, head to

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