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Planning Citizen CATE for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Presentation #303.04 in the session Solar and Atmospheric Science with Eclipses.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Planning Citizen CATE for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

The Citizen Continental America Telescopic Eclipse (Citizen CATE) Experiment placed 68 stations with identical cameras, telescopes, and supporting equipment along the entire path of totality in the US during the 21 August 2017 total solar eclipse. Operated by citizen science teams, CATE successfully captured a continuous 90-minute movie of the inner corona in white light. Evolving from 2017, CATE 2024 will make observations of the inner and middle solar corona in polarized white light along the entire 60-minute path of totality within the US. Here, we present the science objectives we will achieve with CATE 2024 and how the unparalleled dataset will provide a deeper understanding of several aspects of the corona, particularly the middle corona (1.5–3RS). This region defines the connectivity between surface magnetic structures and the outflowing solar wind, but the transition between the lower (below 1.5RS) and upper corona (above 3RS) magnetic morphology regimes is not well understood. Conventional eclipse observations do not span sufficient time to capture changing coronal topology, but the extended observation from CATE 2024 will. We take advantage of the extended observing window that allows middle coronal features to sufficiently evolve such that we can measure the nascent solar wind flow. The high-resolution polarization-sensitive camera and optics planned for CATE 2024 will trace detailed connectivity through the cusp region and permit 3D rendering and disambiguation of fine structure. Additionally, we discuss the citizen science portion of CATE, including insight gained from 2017 and how we plan to improve those methods for 2024.

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