Mid Wales

Aberystwyth scientists first to record US solar eclipse

Total solar eclipse Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

Researchers from Aberystwyth University will be the first of five teams to record the latest total eclipse of the sun, which crosses the US on 21 August.

The scientists have joined an international team of solar scientists to study the event.

Dubbed the Great American Eclipse 2017, the eclipse will last about two minutes and 40 seconds.

And Swansea-born singer Bonnie Tyler is to perform her 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart while it is taking place.

Tyler, who will perform on a cruise ship positioned in the path of the eclipse, told Time magazine it was "so exciting".

Meanwhile, Dr Joe Hutton and Steve Fearn from Aberystwyth's department of physics will be recording the event in the rural town of Mackay, Idaho.

Image copyright Aberystwyth University
Image caption Aberystwyth physicists Dr Joe Hutton and Steve Fearn preparing for the Great American Eclipse

They will deploy a new spectrometer designed to capture the light during totality - when the moon completely blocks the sun's light.

Dr Hutton said: "Totality only lasts two minutes in one given spot, but the shadow of the moon will make landfall in the USA for a total of about an hour and thirty minutes, as it slowly sweeps across.

"By having these five observations points along this path of totality, we can build up a time series of the solar atmosphere using the eclipse observations, something which hasn't been done before on this scale.

"So it is very exciting."

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