NASA Asks U.S. Public To Look At Clouds During April 8’s Total Solar Eclipse

NASA Invites Public to Participate in Cloud Observation During April 8 Total Solar Eclipse

On a memorable day, November 14, 2012, spectators gathered on the beach at Palm Cove in Australia’s Tropical North Queensland to witness the awe-inspiring solar eclipse. This event, captured by Murray Anderson-Clemence and shared by AFP via Getty Images, remains a vivid memory for those who experienced it.

As we approach April 8, anticipation grows for the next total solar eclipse. The weather plays a crucial role in viewing this celestial event, and interestingly, the eclipse itself can influence weather conditions. NASA has called upon eclipse enthusiasts across the U.S. to assist in tracking changes in cloud cover and temperature during the eclipse.

Eclipses have a fascinating effect on our atmosphere. The onset of a partial solar eclipse can lead to the rapid disappearance of cumulus clouds over land. Additionally, a noticeable drop in temperature, sometimes by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, often accompanies an eclipse. These changes provide a unique opportunity for a large-scale citizen science project during the April 8 solar eclipse, which will be visible along a narrow path across North America.

NASA has recently emphasized the importance of citizen science in understanding the multi-sensory impacts of the eclipse, including its effects on environmental sounds and animal behavior. This initiative follows a previous call to action for public participation in eclipse observations.

To facilitate this, NASA encourages the public to download the GLOBE Observer app, register, and acquire an air temperature thermometer. The “GLOBE Eclipse Challenge: Clouds and Our Solar-Powered Earth” project seeks to gather data on cloud and temperature changes from observers both within and outside the path of totality across North America. Participants are asked to record observations before, during, and after the eclipse, from now through April 15.

This initiative builds on the success of a similar project during the last total solar eclipse in North America on August 21, 2017. Observers noted a drop in air temperature and changes in cloud formations during the eclipse. Recent research, based on satellite imagery from eclipses across Africa, has confirmed the significant “eclipse cooling” effect and the rapid disappearance of cumulus clouds as the eclipse progresses.

Cumulus clouds are particularly sensitive to solar eclipses. The phenomenon is straightforward: the sun’s warmth generates these clouds, so when the sun is obscured and the ground cools, the clouds vanish. This process can dramatically clear skies, with cloud coverage reducing to almost nothing in less than 10 minutes.

The upcoming April 8 eclipse presents another opportunity to test these theories, with most locations in the path of totality having a 50% to 70% chance of cloud cover. While the entire North America will witness the partial phases with solar eclipse glasses, only those within the 115-mile-wide track of the moon’s shadow will experience the full spectacle of totality.

For the latest updates and articles on the April 8 total solar eclipse in North America, be sure to follow relevant feeds. Here’s to clear skies and an unforgettable viewing experience.