2017 Solar Eclipse: The Significance

Tue Aug 1, 2017
webster.edu/eclipse | On August 21, 2017, skywatchers and enthusiasts in continental US will have the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse.Along the path of totality (total darkness) from Oregon to South Carolina, St Louis (and Webster Groves area) is one of the few locations that can experience the total eclipse.http://www.webster.edu/eclipse/eclipse-education.html | A total solar eclipse is a rare and spectacular celestial event. Many astronomers and skywatchers explain it as once-in-a-lifetime experience.In addition to being a spectacular event of nature, a total solar eclipse has a great importance in science, specifically to astronomers who study the sun.Due to the immense brightness of the sun, it is sometimes difficult to study the outer atmosphere of the sun using earth-based viewing instruments. This outer atmosphere, also known as the 'corona' is a highly active region where many phenomena, including solar winds and solar mass ejections, occur. In short, the corona is where the sun's 'weather' is determined.Studying the corona is important to astronomers in understanding how the sun affects the solar system including our Earth. The behavior of the corona has effects not only on the temperature and weather of the Earth, but also on electromagnetic communication systems including satellite, radio, tv and mobile phones.During a total solar eclipse, sun is completely covered by the moon making it dark enough that Sun's corona is visible. Therefore a total eclipse is a wonderful opportunity for scientists to study the corona.