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Total Solar Eclipses Forever

Published onAug 18, 2020
Total Solar Eclipses Forever

Fifty years ago, Donald Menzel and I had a major expedition to Miahuatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico (sponsored by National Geographic) for the March 7, 1970, total solar eclipse, whose path extended up the US Eastern Seaboard and out to sea at Nantucket. We had a giant wide-field coronal Littrow spectrograph designed by James G. Baker. We described the coronal configuration, including a paper in Nature about the eclipse. I will discuss science from the series of total solar eclipses since then, including our hopes for observing the 14 December 2020 total solar eclipse whose path of totality will cross southern Chile and Argentina, as did the 2 July 2019 eclipse. I will comment on imaging, spectra, and prediction of both configuration from magnetic field maps and Baily’s beads from 3D mapping of the Moon. Over the decades, 14 of my eclipse expeditions were supported by the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society. My recent research on solar eclipses receives major support from (currently grant AGS-1903500) from the Solar Terrestrial Program, Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division, U.S. National Science Foundation. Additional student support has recently come from Sigma Xi, NASA’s Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium, and The Global Initiative, Freeman Foote, and Brandi Funds of Williams College.


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