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October 4, 2023

Eclipses and Solar Observation

People with eclipse safety glasses will have a chance to view the solar eclipse Oct. 14 while NSF's National Solar Observatory is advancing understanding of the sun with new advanced telescopes.

Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

When the sun and the moon align, the moon blocks the sun's light resulting in a solar eclipse. Throughout history, people have sought to understand the phenomena and today, a person can view an eclipse with special eye protection. But scientists have even more advanced observation tools, we'll explore ways to view the sun in the U.S. National Science Foundation's "Discovery Files."

On October 14th of this year and April 8th of next, people using solar viewing glasses in the path of the eclipses can look up and see the ring of fire and experience the shadow that results from the moon's orbit blocking the light of the sun.

Researchers at the NSF-Supported National Solar Observatory are working to advance our understanding of the sun by operating telescopes including the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, also known as DKIST.

DKIST is a four-meter off-axis reflecting telescope which has the spatial, temporal, spectral resolution, and dynamic range necessary to study the solar surface and outer atmosphere of the sun. It allows for core solar-terrestrial magnetism observations and will offer unique views of astrophysical plasmas.

Program manager Carrie Black: "it's groundbreaking and also incredibly complimentary to the other types of telescopes that we have looking at the sun."

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope opens new opportunities for discovery beyond the limited scale and aperture abilities of current solar telescopes and will offer stunning new views of our sun for generations to come.

To hear more science and engineering news, including the researchers making it, subscribe to "NSF's Discovery Files" podcast.

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