AstroTalk Episode July 27, 2017

August 21 Solar Eclipse

3:00pm - 3:30pm

Most of North America will be taking in the total, or partial, solar eclipse, on August 21, 2017. The eclipse will be total as viewed in Portland Oregon, while in Vancouver, the magnitude of the eclipse will be 0.88. So the eclipse from Vancouver will be partial. The magnitude of the eclipse as seen from Seattle will be 0.91.The eclipse will move from Oregon, across the USA, and into South Carolina. NASA has enlisted 50 high schools in the USA to study the eclipse. Each school will launch a balloon, containing 1 metal plate of bacteria. The balloon will float high into Earth's atmosphere, and since UV rays are blocked by the Moon during the eclipse, this will be like simulating a Martian-like atmosphere, and how the bacteria react to it. The bacteria will then be compared to bacteria on Earth, which has not been exposed to the higher "eclipsed" atmosphere. The conditions of a "wispy-like" atmosphere high on Earth are thought to be similar to the wispy-like conditions with Mars' atmosphere in general. With the Moon blocking the UV rays from the Sun, this will also be similar to conditions in the Martian atmosphere. NASA is also sending up 2 of its WB-F57 jets, with telescopes mounted on their noses, to better view the eclipse.