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Scientists plan to study eclipse at PARI

The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute plans on holding an event to view the 2017 solar eclipse for the public. Tickets for that event are sold out, but scientists say it won't just be tourists and locals viewing the eclipse. They tell us multiple teams of scientists will be there to view and study the eclipse. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute plans on holding an event to view the 2017 solar eclipse for the public. Tickets for that event are sold out, but scientists say it won't just be tourists and locals viewing the eclipse. They tell us multiple teams of scientists will be there to view and study the eclipse.

The PARI website states, "The path of totality will cross the PARI campus at 2:36:44 p.m. EDT and last for 1 minute, 47 seconds. It will be a historic moment, the first time a total solar eclipse has occurred at a site equipped with 26-meter radio telescopes. No one knows what will be learned by pointing these giant instruments at the Sun during totality, but scientists will be on hand to find out. Teams of NASA scientists will also be at PARI, conducting two different eclipse experiments. It is a fitting return for the nation’s space agency, for it was NASA that selected the 200-acre campus for the site of its East Coast satellite tracking station during the infancy of the U.S. space program, more than 50 years ago."

Lebby Moran, who is a Pari Science Educator, explained to WLOS in an interview, "The solar corona is the atmosphere around the sun, and usually it's overpowered by the sheer light and energy coming out of the main body of the sun, so the only times we get to physically observe and study it is during the solar eclipse, because the rest of the energy is blocked out. There are some things that are odd about the corona that we are trying to learn about, and here at PARI, being the first radio observatory to be in the path of totality along a solar eclipse, we have an idea of what we will see with our data from observing it along the radio frequency. Since it hasn't happened with dishes as large as ours, we are not exactly sure what we will see, but we're pretty excited."

PARI scientists also demonstrated what they are expecting to see at the News 13 studio.


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