Research into the Total Solar Eclipse
Buenos Aries, Argentina
The upcoming total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, is an opportunity for the scientists to find out more about the Sun’s properties. Scientific teams will take advantage of the eclipse to study the Sun and its effects on the Earth.
Researcher’s main goal for the total eclipse is to study the solar corona, the faint atmosphere of the Sun, which is about a million times less bright and is usually hidden behind the blue sky. During the eclipse, and only then, the solar corona becomes visible, because the Sun’s bright light is blocked out by the Moon’s shadow.
Every 11 years, the magnetic field of the Sun changes erratically, which is why the solar corona will present a different image every eclipse. And the total eclipse happens only once in about 18 months at any location on the planet, with totality reaching only about 2 and a half minutes on average. This amount of time is not nearly enough to understand how the Sun works.
The influence of the Sun on our planet is called space weather. When eruptions occur on the Sun, they can destroy satellites orbiting the Earth and even result in blackouts and surges on power lines. Scientists are looking to find a way to predict and observe the solar eruptions that can impact the Earth by observing the Sun during total eclipses.
It is still unclear why the solar corona is heated to millions of degrees Celsius. Moreover, it is unclear why the onset of the total eclipse impacts the temperature, pressure, wind, and other weather aspects on Earth. During the totality of 2015 in Svalbard in the Arctic, the temperature on land dropped 15°F. Special equipment for atmospheric monitoring might help uncover the answers to some questions. Also, photometric measurements of the sky will be performed to study its brightness.
Scientists could also team up with radio astronomers to pinpoint the regions of emissions on the Sun’s surface during the time the Moon advances over them, and then passes further, allowing the magnetic regions to be visible. By localizing solar activity in such way and comparing it to space observations in UV and X-ray, the researchers would be able to determine where the emissions come from in the magnetic field of the Sun.