During Africa's solar eclipse, SOHO will still see the whole Sun
18 Jun 2001Scientific teams going to Africa for the total solar eclipse, on 21 June, will rely on the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft to show them the Sun's weather during the event.
As the Moon's shadow sweeps from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, via Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar, SOHO will have an uninterrupted view of the Sun from its vantage point far beyond the Moon. European and American expeditions have asked the SOHO team to obtain images at their various local times of total eclipse, when the Sun's glowing corona comes into view around the rim of the Moon.
Especially in demand are images from the EIT and LASCO instruments on SOHO. EIT observes the storms in the Sun's atmosphere by ultraviolet light, which is blocked by the Earth's air. LASCO is a visible-light coronagraph that keeps the Sun perpetually eclipsed by masks in its telescopes. Viewing a huge volume of space, LASCO will show how features seen close to the Sun, by ground observers during the eclipse, relate to space weather further out.
On 21 June, eclipse images from a French expedition to Sumbe in Angola will be relayed as a live transmission by satellite to the CNES-ESA pavilion at the Paris Air Show, for display on large screens. The mid-point of the eclipse will be at 14:38 Paris time. This presentation in real time will be discussed by a round table of experts. Eclipse images and the near-simultaneous SOHO images will also be released on this web site (on the 'Solar Eclipse June 2001' pages), as they become available.
For more information please contact:
Dr. Bernhard Fleck, ESA-SOHO project scientist
Dr. Paal Brekke, ESA-SOHO deputy project scientist
ESA Science Programme Communication Service