PARI teaming up with NASA for total solar eclipse - FOX Carolina 21

PARI teaming up with NASA for total solar eclipse

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The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute was originally a NASA facility but for the last 20 years, it’s been PARI, educating people on the stars, planets and items found on our planet that come from outer space.

When it comes to what falls out of the sky, there are few as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as Don Cline.

Cline is president of PARI in Transylvania County.

Like many in the region, Cline is eagerly awaiting the total solar eclipse on August 21.

"Back 20 years ago when I was looking at this site, I looked up the total eclipse that would be coming through," Cline explained. "I saw the site is going to be in the direct path."

The institute is holding a special viewing event featuring researchers from NASA. Researchers will conduct studies never thought possible during such an event because of the convenient resources at the institute.

They'll have less than two minutes to run all their tests. That's the time frame of the total solar eclipse.

"We will be making measurements of the corona and looking at spectrum in addition to the signal variations,” explained Cline. “We have 4 radio telescopes, 12 optical telescopes. All those will be energized."

The corona is the aura of plasma that surrounds the sun.

Cline says some of the NASA researchers will be focused heavily on temperature changes during the eclipse.

"The temperature typically drops like 16 degrees,” said Cline.

Cline adds scientists will send a balloon up 90,000 feet to film and stream video of the eclipse.

According to the NASA research team, their observations could provide evidence of a neutral hydrogen in the corona.

He encourages people trying to avoid large crowds to head to the mountains instead and not wait around for the next total solar eclipse.

"It happens to be April 8, 2024 and that's going to be 1,000 miles away from this area,” said Cline.

PARI will host special programs until the eclipse on August 21.

For more information on PARI, click here.

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