Studying an Eclipse (06:25)
Scientists will observe the sun's outer atmosphere during a total solar eclipse. In Salem, Oregon, Jay Pasachoff sets up his surveying equipment. On Casper Mountain, Steve Tomczyk will study how the corona triggers destructive solar storms. Amir Caspi plans to fly two NASA jet aircraft above the clouds to gather data about the corona.
Ancient Eclipses (08:00)
The frequency of solar eclipses can appear random, but there is a complex pattern. Solar eclipses occur somewhere on the planet every eighteen months. Edmond Halley was the first astronomer to map the entire path and time of an eclipse.
Modern Eclipses (06:57)
Pasachoff travels to Argentina to witness the solar eclipse; it is annular, not total. The sun's atmosphere consists of electrically charged gas. On Earth, plasma is occasionally seen in the form of lightning.
Second Contact (04:22)
Baily's Beads appear around the edge of the moon. Pasachoff and other observers survey the total solar eclipse. His team takes images in varying exposures to capture as much detail of the corona as possible.
Coronal Mass Ejection (03:41)
The suns magnetic field can throw over a billion tons of plasma into space, directly affecting Earth. Scientists monitor the sun to try and predict the solar events.
Coronal Experiment (03:14)
Tomczyk attempts to discover the orientation of the corona to understand why coronal mass ejections occur. He and his team utilize a specialized camera which measures polarization. During a total solar eclipse, the temperature can drop as much as 28 degrees.
NASA Eclipse Mission (05:49)
Astronomer Charles Young was the first to point a spectroscope at the solar corona during an eclipse and discovered it contained coronium. Caspi's team will view the solar eclipse through telescopes attached to jets, to better understand why the corona is hotter than the sun's surface.
Scientists use a research rocket to study nanoflares. They theorize that the sun's magnetic fields trigger nanoflares; millions occur on the sun's surface each second. Caspi and his team capture images and data.
"Diamond Ring" (04:49)
The last moment of totality during a total eclipse is known as third contact; the sun's rays begin to sparkle. After the eclipse, scientists being to study images and data.
Credits: Eclipse Over America (01:11)
Credits: Eclipse Over America
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