Eclipses of the Sun happen when the Moon blocks the Sun’s light from our view. It may seem puzzling, then, that solar physicists flock to study the Sun during these special events. Shouldn’t there be nothing to see? Yet there is. I will talk about what the tantalizing solar features revealed during solar eclipses tell us about the Sun and its structure, as well as how this relates to what high energy solar satellites routinely discover without the need for eclipses. I will then make a leap into the cosmos to relate this to what astronomers are learning about the nearest stars and their abilities to make good homes for other planets.
Dr. Rachel Osten is an associate astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. She is also the deputy head of the Hubble Space Telescope Mission Office. She is fascinated by how stars vary in time, and her expertise is in studying the nearby stars as if they were Suns. Dr. Osten studies high energy processes on stars using many ground- and space-based telescopes.
Presented in conjunction with The Center’s exhibition Night Watch and to celebrate the Solar Eclipse.