COMPARISONS OF DATA collected by different instruments during the total eclipse help scientists learn how events on the solar surface affect the sun's atmosphere and the resulting solar wind. The center of the composite image (left is a view of the sun snapped during the eclipse by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) on board the SOHO spacecraft. It clearly shows the turbulent events taking place on the sun's surface and in its lower atmosphere (below, left).
The surrounding image (below, right) was made by an optical telescope on the island of Aruba. It shows the sun's corona or, outer atmosphere, as a shimmering veil surrounding the central shadow of the moon. The corona consists of electrically charged gas that has been heated to one million degrees Fahrenheit as it streams from the solar surface at 250 miles per second.
DATA from EIT will also be compared to images made by another instrument on SOHO, the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO). Like an artificial eclipse, a coronagraph makes it possible to view the faint solar corona by blocking out the light from the sun's disk.
Images: JAY PASACHOFF,
Williams College; SOHO EIT CONSORTIUM, LASCO