Pick of The Week
 
 

Down Under Eclipse (December 4, 2002)

  
Images
Images
High-res version (TIF,830K)
High-res version (TIF,2.3M)
Composite images from the time of the eclipse from ground and from SOHO. Left: An EIT 195 image (innermost) and the ground-based image from Australia. Right: An EIT 304 image (innermost), a ground based image, and LASCO C2 image (outermost). The orientations of the eclipse images are approximate.

Image credit: SOHO (ESA/NASA) and Williams College Eclipse Expedition / Jay Pasachoff, Steven Souza, Lissa Ong, Jesse Dill

While skygazers in South-Africa and Australia cheered the solar Eclipse on 4 December 2002, SOHO had a front row view of the Sun. With a unique view from the first Lagrangian point (L1), outside the disturbing influence of Earth's atmosphere, SOHO's Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) produces its own eclipse all the time by simply blocking direct light from the solar disk. Other instruments on board look directly at the Sun, with the same advantage of an uninterrupted view - there are no nights on SOHO, and the Moon never gets in the way.

So, when a total eclipse happens to be observable from Earth, SOHO is one of the primary sources of information about what lies in wait for the eager observers in possibly remote locations. This was also the case this time during the 4 December 2002 eclipse. Although SOHO has its own eclipse, there is still a lot to gain from ground based observations, with sophisticated equipment that can be fine tuned for particular goals.

Previous Picks of the Week

SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.

If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to steele.hill@gsfc.nasa.gov.

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