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Science and the Environment

All but the Edge of the Sun

Sketch of 1878 eclipse by Trouvelot

While it is true that the path of totality for the latest solar eclipse passed directly over Missouri, not all of the sun was completely obscured. Instead a nebulous region of plasma, called the corona, extends out into space and is not covered by the disc of the moon during totality. But, since the sun's primary surface is covered, some portions of the corona can be studied only during an eclipse. To exploit this fact a group of scientists set up teams across the US to take telescopic observations of the sun during totality. And fortuitously, two physicists from Drury University were asked to take the data at one station along the path. One of them, Dr. Bruce Callen, stops by to talk about the Drury involvement, from the planning to the execution of the actual experiment.