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Report of
Science at Williams

Inner and outer images from the ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft frame an eclipse image taken from Kastellorizo, Greece, by the Williams College 2006 Eclipse Expedition.

Though the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) can observe the solar corona on the face of the Sun and can observe the outer part of the solar corona, the "doughnut" between those images is not visible from Earth except during total solar eclipses. Filling this doughnut hole allows coronal streamers to be traced from their roots on the sun's surface through the eclipse corona and into the solar wind, the expanding outer corona. The central image from SOHO shows the Sun's disk at temperatures around 60,000 to 80,000 K through a filter showing helium gas. The outer image from SOHO shows gas at the millions of degrees typical of the sun's corona, with the Large Angle Spectroscopic Coronagraph (LASCO) hiding the bright, inner corona. Merging the eclipse image with the space images from SOHO allows astronomers to trace features in the corona from their bases on the Sun's surface up until the gas escapes into interplanetary space. Some of this gas winds up hitting our Earth's upper atmosphere.
Credits: Williams College 2006 Eclipse Expedition (Jay Pasachoff, Bryce Babcock, Steven Souza, Jesse Levitt, Megan Bruck, Shelby Kimmel, Paul Hess, Anna Tsykalova, Amy Steele), partly supported by grant ATM-0552116 from the Solar Terrestrial Research Program of the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Atmospheric Sciences, with electronic cameras provided by NASA Planetary Astronomy and additional support from the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society.

The Science Executive Committee wishes to express its gratitude to the extensive efforts of all the science departmental executive assistants in preparing contributions for this publication, and to Kate Fletcher, administrative assistant at the Science Center, for assembling this material in its final form.

Editor: Dr. Bryce Babcock

This document is printed on recycled paper.

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