Be Part of Solar Research – Draw the Corona!

Solar eclipses provide scientists with some of their best opportunities to study the corona, the ring of plasma that surrounds the sun. When the moon completely covers the sun, the corona becomes visible as a white ring around the sun.   It’s not a smooth ring, however.   You can see solar flares and prominences stretching out away from the sun’s surface at some points.  In some places plasma may appear to erupt outwards and then loop back toward the sun’s surface. Other spots may seem calm and quiet.   Before the development of photography, scientists made drawings of what they observed. Of course, each person’s drawing was a bit different, so one way to get a more accurate image was to take multiple drawings and layer them on top of one another to form a composite image.

During the eclipse of 1860, six scientists recorded these drawings of the corona, which were then combined to make a single, more detailed image:

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We’re going to do that same thing here in Casper.   You can pick up a template of the sun, marked off into 12 equal sections, at the Planetarium, or download one HERE and print it.   On eclipse day, during the totality (when the sun is completely covered by the moon), draw the corona as you see it. Then return your sheet to the Planetarium by August 28th and we’ll include your drawing in our composite image project.

 

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