Solar Eclipse: Spectacular View and Better Solar Predictions

The November 14 eclipse as seen by Solar Dynamics Observatory observers over Cairns Australia (Credits: NASA).

On November 14, the northeast of Australia saw an early morning total solar eclipse. Both locals and flocks of visiting skywatchers and astronomers watched as the Moon passed in front of the Sun, blocking it completely from the sight of those in the path of totality.

Total eclipses occur because the distance of the Earth from the Sun and the Moon happen to make those bodies appear to be the same size in our sky. While eclipses are spectacular to watch – with adequate provisions to ensure safe viewing  – they also provide a unique opportunity for heliophysicists to study the coronosphere. The coronosphere hosts some of the most dynamic solar effects and weather and has a direct impact on radiation in the vicinity of Earth. This Science@NASA video, below, explains how Australia’s eclipse can improve solar weather predictions. Watch carefully: the next total eclipse doesn’t come around until 2015.



About the author

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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