The Scientific Magic of a Disappearing Sun

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 1 p.m. — 2 p.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
SHADIA RIFAI HABBAL (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai'i and NOAO South Visiting Astronomer)

During the fleeting moments of a total solar eclipse, which span a few seconds to a few minutes, anyone lucky enough to be in the Moon’s shadow under clear weather, will be treated to an exquisite display of shimmering light from the solar corona, or the Sun’s crown. This precise clockwork of planetary motion also offers unique opportunities to carry out novel investigations of the physical processes that define the solar corona. In this talk, which will be geared towards the public as well as the curious scientists, I will start with a brief overview of historical events associated with total solar eclipses, as well as of the landmark observations that led to space exploration. I will also share with the audience the trials and tribulations of total solar eclipse expeditions, and why eclipse observations continue to fill a unique niche in our explorations of what defines the dynamics and thermodynamics of the coronal plasma.