Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research (NJIT-CSTR) have captured the Oct. 14 solar eclipse in a way never seen before — recording the first radio images of an annular eclipse’s famous “ring of fire” effect.
The eclipse was partially visible to much of the continental U.S. for several hours that Saturday, though the full “ring of fire” effect was only visible for less than five minutes, and only for those within its 125-mile-wide path of annularity.
However, the new observations of the radio Sun’s eclipse — much longer in duration than the partial eclipse recently experienced by millions on Earth due to the extended solar corona as seen at radio wavelengths — have yielded stunning images of the eclipse’s ring lasting for over an hour.
Researchers used the newly commissioned Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array (OVRO-LWA) in the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, CA to make their breakthrough observation of radio waves emanating from the Sun’s extended corona, as the moon passed between Earth and its nearest star.
“To finally see a ‘ring of fire’ eclipse this way was spectacular … we haven’t seen this quality of radio imaging of the Sun before.” said Dale Gary, NJIT-CSTR distinguished professor of physics and co-investigator on the OVRO-LWA project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.
“We normally cannot see the corona from the ground except during a total eclipse, but we can now see it all the time with OVRO-LWA. This eclipse makes it that much more dramatic.”
“From our observatory site in California we were not in the belt to see the annular eclipse, yet we’ve been able to ‘see’ it all clearly unfold in radio, which reveals a much larger solar disk than its visible counterpart thanks to its sensitivity to the extended solar corona,” said Bin Chen, NJIT-CSTR associate professor of physics who led the data reduction and processing together with NJIT researchers Surajit Mondal and…