Total solar eclipse 2024: Why will Nasa fire three rockets to moon shadow?

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced to launch three rockets into the moons shadow on April 8 during total solar eclipse to study how a decrease in sunlight affects the ionosphere — the outer layer of Earth’s atmosphere which is filled with atmospheric gases, News Week reported.

The total solar eclipse will be visible in North America, across 15 United States (US) states, as well as Canada and Mexico. It is estimated to be the most watched solar celestial event.

The sounding rockets will be launched with intervals from the space agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, where 81% of the sun will be blocked. 

The first one will be fired 45 minutes before the start time of the solar eclipse, another rocket in the middle hours and the last one will be sent 45 minutes before end time.

Sounding rockets are rockets that carry scientific instruments and are fired for educational purposes.

The aim of the test is to study any changes that occur due to sudden loss of sunlight during eclipse.

Mission leader professor Aroh Barjatya, in a statement, said: "It's an electrified region that reflects and refracts radio signals, and also impacts satellite communications as the signals pass through."

"Understanding the ionosphere and developing models to help us predict disturbances is crucial to making sure our increasingly communication-dependent world operates smoothly," he added.