Nobody likes to hear "I told you so," but sometimes in science it's advantageous —
When the total solar eclipse swept across the United States on Aug. 21, 2017, NASA satellites captured a diverse set of images from space. But days before the eclipse, some NASA satellites also enabled scientists to predict what the corona — the Sun’s outer atmosphere — would look like during the eclipse, from the ground.
Predictive Science, Inc. developed a numerical model that simulated what the corona would look like during the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. Their model uses observations of magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface and requires a wealth of supercomputing resources to predict how the magnetic field shapes the corona over time.
This is a photograph taken on the ground during the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. “Based on a very preliminary comparison, it looks like the model did very well in capturing features of the large-scale corona,” Predictive Science president and scientist Jon Linker said.
Due to STEREO-A’s position behind the Sun and the particular rotation rates of the Sun and Earth, STEREO-A’s view of the corona on Aug. 12, 2017, was virtually the same those within the path of totality would see nine days later on Aug. 21. That is, STEREO-A’s vantage point is roughly nine days in advance of Earth’s.
An image from the joint ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, which was positioned to share Earth’s view of the corona on Aug. 21 shows great similarity to STEREO-A’s view.
credit: NASA #nasagoddard #eclipse #sun #science