Eclipse watchers catch part of the sun’s surface fleeing to space | Science News

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Eclipse watchers catch part of the sun’s surface fleeing to space

Spectrometer designed to measure speed, temperature and more to be deployed during U.S. eclipse in August

2:57pm, June 16, 2017
Eclipse in Svalbard

NIGHT AND DAY  Solar physicists gained new insight into the origins of coronal mass ejections as they watched the 2015 solar eclipse darken the sky above Svalbard, Norway.

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For the first time, researchers have watched relatively cool parcels of plasma speed away from the surface of the sun and off into space, all the while cocooned in a million-degree flare.

Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and colleagues used a specially designed spectrometer to observe the eruption from Svalbard, Norway, during the March 2015 solar eclipse. The results, published online June 9 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, include measurements of the speed, temperature and composition of filaments of solar material streaming away from the sun — three features never measured simultaneously before.

The data provide the first direct evidence of cooler solar material within an eruption and map its speed and trajectory, says Enrico Landi of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “No instrument has ever been

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