SOHO's images provide striking contrast to the solar eclipse
22 June 2001The first solar eclipse of the new millennium was enjoyed yesterday by thousands of observers in southern Africa. As tourists and residents enjoyed one of Nature's most impressive sights, it was business as usual for SOHO.
The eclipse, which took about one hour to travel from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, passed across Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar. Across the eclipse path scientists set up their instruments ready to study the Sun's corona - the faint outer layer of the Sun that is ordinarily hidden behind the blue sky.
According to local reports scientists were not disappointed. Perfect weather conditions meant that during totality, which lasted for three minutes and 14 seconds over Lusaka, Zambia, useful data could be collected for later analysis.
In the meantime, SOHO's EIT, CDS and LASCO instruments performed special observations which had been specifically requested by ground-based observers. From its unique vantage point beyond the Moon SOHO had a clear view of the Sun throughout the eclipse. Data from EIT, CDS and LASCO has been made available to scientists who can now compare their measurements of the Sun during the eclipse with those obtained by SOHO.
The next total solar eclipse will be visible from Australia on 4 December 2002.