To discuss recent eclipse science, University of Hawaii astronomer Shadia Habbal presented her work on the science of the corona. Habbal travels around the world, chasing down eclipses, and uses specialized cameras to image the corona during totality.
Credits: M. Druckmüller
It is in the corona that we observe giant solar eruptions like solar flares and coronal mass ejections, and the origin of the solar wind, the continuous flow of charged particles from the sun. All of these constantly shape the very nature of the space around Earth and other planets. Studying the corona and its role in the interconnected sun-space system is crucial for understanding not only the relationship between Earth and the sun, but also the space environment our satellites and astronauts must travel through for future exploration.
“There is a whole spectrum of colors of light that our eyes cannot see,” Habbal said. “From these different colors, we can directly probe into the physics of the corona.” Different colors provide unique information about the temperature and composition of solar material in the corona.