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time lapse of solar eclipse

Each day until August 21, astronomy writer Lisa Grossman will explore the top questions scientists will tackle during the 2017 total solar eclipse.

aurora

CHARGED UP  Auroras are triggered in Earth’s atmosphere by the solar wind, a constant stream of charged particles wafting away from the sun. This photo of an aurora was taken from the International Space Station on June 26.

sun illustration

SIGNS OF LINES  The sun’s magnetic field is connected to one in the corona, which is much weaker and therefore harder to observe. Together, they form a twisted mess, illustrated here as white lines (based partly on a model) over a 2016 image of the sun from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

2016 solar eclipse

FICKLE FLAMES  Streamers and filaments encircled most of the sun during a solar eclipse in 2016, when the sun’s activity was waning. The Aug. 21 solar eclipse will show physicists what the corona looks like when solar activity has quieted down even more.



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