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March 28, 2024

Measuring polarization of coronal light during a total solar eclipse

The sun’s corona -- its outermost atmosphere -- is typically only visible to the naked eye during a total solar eclipse. The SwRI-led Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) 2024 project evaluated special cameras to measure the polarization of coronal light during the April 2023 total solar eclipse in Exmouth, Western Australia. In this image, colors indicate the polarization or orientation of light, and white features, called prominences, have no polarization. For the Citizen CATE 2024 project, 35 teams of community volunteers will observe the path of totality for the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse to make an hour-long movie of the polarized light from the sun’s corona.

[Research supported by U.S. National Science Foundation grants AST 2231658, AST 2308305 and AST 2308306.]

Learn more about the Citizen CATE 2024 project or read the published research study. (Date of image: April 2023; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: March 28, 2024)

Credit: SwRI/Citizen CATE 2024

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