Indian born scientist Aroh Barjatya heads NASA’s solar eclipse study

| Updated: 13 April, 2024 12:37 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Aroh Barjatya, a renowned scientist of Indian origin, led a crucial mission for NASA that was launched during a total solar eclipse on April 8. The mission, known as the Atmospheric Perturbations around the Eclipse Path (APEP), aimed to study disruptions in the Earth’s upper atmosphere caused by the eclipse.

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Barjatya, who is currently an engineering and physics professor at Florida’s esteemed Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, oversaw the launch of three sounding rockets from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The APEP mission was first launched during an annular solar eclipse in October 20233. After the successful launch of the mission, Barjatya thanked his colleagues, students, and the devoted team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Wallops Sounding Rocket Program Office.

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The mission’s goal was to investigate the disruptions in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which occur when the moon temporarily blocks the sun’s light. Last year, the instruments aboard the rockets observed abrupt and dramatic changes in the ionosphere. Researchers were eager to relaunch them during the total solar eclipse to observe potential changes in the perturbations.

Barjatya’s leadership in coordinating this mission has been recognized by NASA. His work is contributing significantly to our understanding of the Earth’s upper atmosphere and the effects of solar eclipses. This mission underscores the importance of international collaboration in space exploration and the significant contributions of scientists of Indian origin in this field.

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