Whether or not you got to see it, it has been hard to avoid the hype surrounding the recent total solar eclipse. Its track crossed the country for 90 minutes, from Oregon to South Carolina, and was viewable from several major population centers.
I will recap the eclipse, starting with a history of solar eclipses. Eclipses are more than a visual spectacle; I will highlight the important scientific discoveries that have come out of them. Even in this age of large telescopes and orbital observatories, a total solar eclipse offers the unique opportunity to probe the inner solar corona.
Prof. Walter, a resident of East Setauket, studies star birth, stellar weather (including stellar coronae), and star death using the Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope, and telescopes in Arizona, Hawaii and Chile. He experienced the 1979 total eclipse in Montana as a graduate student. He has been a professor of Astronomy at Stony Brook since 1989.