In an August 9th article in nature “Mysteries of Sun’s corona on view during upcoming eclipse“, Ms Witze points out several new infrared methods that Science will be using to investigate aspects of solar and near solar astronomy during the August 21st total eclipse in the USA.
“During the coming eclipse, one major effort will use a US National Science Foundation Gulfstream V plane to probe magnetic flows in the solar corona at infrared wavelengths, which can be difficult to measure from the ground (see ‘Day of darkness’).
“In the past, researchers have focused on studying the corona at ultraviolet wavelengths from space, and at visible wavelengths from the ground.
“But now, infrared detectors have become sensitive enough to begin opening a new window on the corona, says Jenna Samra, a graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who helps to lead the project.
“Infrared studies reveal more about the corona’s magnetic fields, where energy is unleashed in powerful currents from the Sun’s surface up into the atmosphere.
“‘We’ve been missing this piece of the puzzle,’ says Chad Madsen, a postdoctoral fellow with the project at the CfA.
“The infrared instrument aboard the plane will gather detailed spectral information at several locations around the solar corona. The distance between certain lines in the spectrum reveals the strength of the magnetic field in that location — information that can’t be measured directly otherwise.”
Read the full article online at: http://www.nature.com/news/mysteries-of-sun-s-corona-on-view-during-upcoming-eclipse-1.22434
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