This incredible record of July 11’s total solar eclipse is actually three images in one, each taken by different instruments to bring out detail in different parts of the Sun.
The outer, redder part of the image shows the Sun’s outer corona, or outer atmosphere, as seen by the Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on the SOHO spacecraft and shown in red false colour. SOHO has been studying the Sun for years from its vantage point between the Earth and the Sun.
LASCO uses a disc to blot out the bright sun and the inner corona so that the faint outer corona can be monitored and studied.
The inner black-and-white part shows the Sun’s inner corona, and is an image taken from Easter Island by the Williams College Expedition.
Finally, at the very centre is ultraviolet image of the Sun’s surface, taken by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a recently-launched Sun-monitoring spacecraft.
Image credits: Williams College Eclipse Expedition — Jay M. Pasachoff, Muzhou Lu, and Craig Malamut; SOHO’s LASCO image courtesy of NASA/ESA; solar disk image from NASA’s SDO; compositing by Steele Hill, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.
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