August 21, 2017, Eclipse Expedition to Salem, Oregon
Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, Williams College; Chair, International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Solar Eclipses
I have observed sixty-four solar eclipses as of the end of 2016, and for my sixty-sixth solar eclipse I will lead a scientific expedition to Salem, Oregon, on August 21, 2017. Preparation for the 2017 eclipse began three years prior to the event, with site visits. Some of the key factors in choosing a site appropriate for viewing an eclipse are cloudiness statistics. Meteorologist Jay Anderson has compiled cloudiness statistics from decades of space observations; see http://eclipsophile.com. My students and I study the dynamics of the solar corona, how the solar corona varies over the eleven-year sunspot cycle, and how it is heated to millions of degrees. To that end, we will have a variety of imaging cameras with long telephoto lenses as well as spectrographs at the 2017 eclipse. These are common tools for our eclipse expeditions. We used similar instruments at total solar eclipses in Siberia in 2009, in China in 2010, in Easter Island in 2012, in Gabon in 2013, in Svalbard in 2015 and in Indonesia in 2016.
In the photograph [below], the pink-tinted chromosphere glows in hydrogen light, and the pearly white solar corona reflects and scatters sunlight toward us; a rose-colored prominence erupts, and two coronal mass ejections are also visible. Amazingly, this scientific imaging, even with all of the computer processing, gives a similar result and level of detail as Butler painted nearly a century ago.
Images from other eclipse expeditions:
Learn more about the 2017 Eclipse: