• Solar Eclipses

    Map of Path of Solar EclipseSolar eclipses aren’t just beautiful – they’re great for science.

    Solar eclipses have driven numerous scientific discoveries. For over a century, solar eclipses have helped scientists describe the Sun’s structure, explain solar events, and even find evidence for the theory of general relativity. Solar eclipses have also helped scientists discover a new element - helium! Helium was first discovered in the Sun in 1868, its name fittingly derived from from the Greek word Helios, meaning Sun.

    Today, scientists still study eclipses to make new discoveries about the Sun, Earth, and our space environment. Total solar eclipses are particularly important because they allow scientists to see a part of the Sun’s atmosphere – known as the corona – that’s too faint to see except when the bright light of the Sun is blocked.