December 23, 2019 0

Total solar eclipse illuminated by UH astronomers

>>Narrator: During this year’s total solar
eclipse, the first to cross North America since 1918, Hawaii will be well represented
by Institute for Astronomy astronomer Shadia Rifai Habbal and other UH scientists. When the moon completely blocks the sun, Habbal’s
team of international scientists will collect data as they have done during 14 eclipses
since 1995.>>Shadia Rifai Habbal, Institute for Astronomy
astronomer: To witness the event, when you are going from full daylight to nighttime,
well it happens over an hour, but the last bit is very very quick and all of sudden you
are immersed in darkness and you see this bright corona shimmering in the sky. It’s something very, very unique.>>Narrator: As the eclipse travels across
the continent, Habbal’s team will be observing from five different sites.>>Habbal: One of the big puzzles about the
sun is the surface temperature is about six thousand degrees. But then when you get the to corona its several
million. So what is causing the temperature to go up
so suddenly?>>Narrator: They will be using the spectrometers
to study the solar wind or gasses escaping from the sun.>>Habbal: It tells us something about the
whole universe and the formation of solar systems so it’s a very profound concept
and idea that we’re exploring.>>Narrator: Hawaii will be in a position
to view only a partial eclipse around 6:35 a.m. on August 21, however, the warning not
to look directly at the sun still applies.>>Benjamin Boe, Institute for Astronomy graduate
student: Don’t stare at the sun, please wear solar glasses if you have them. If not, a simple easy solution is just take
a piece of cardboard, pop a small hole in it, you can put another piece of paper behind
it and project an image of the sun onto a piece of paper and that way you can see the
crescent sun without actually having to look at it.>>Narrator: The public may also view the
total solar eclipse as it unfolds over Idaho online, thanks to a live broadcast by two
UH Hilo faculty.

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