African eclipse 21 June – SOHO keeps on watching

Eclipse of the Sun at solar maximum
20 June 2001

Eclipse chasers are already on their way to see the African eclipse, starting just after midday (UT) on 21 June. Scientific teams will rely on the ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft to show them the Sun’s weather during the event. You can follow events live on the web with the BBC Online and ESA.
21 June - watch the replay

The BBC Online's live webcast from Zambia tomorrow begins at 12.30 UT (14:30 Central European Time). The hour-long show will include interviews with eclipse chasers, ESA’s SOHO animations of the solar atmosphere, webchats and live pictures of totality.

Uninterrupted view for SOHO

Soho image of the solar corona
SOHO LASCO image of the solar corona

As the Moon's shadow sweeps from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, via Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar, SOHO will have an uninterrupted view of the Sun from its vantage point far beyond the Moon. European and American expeditions have asked the SOHO team to obtain images at their various local times of total eclipse, when the Sun's glowing corona comes into view around the rim of the Moon.

Especially in demand are images from the EIT and LASCO instruments on SOHO. EIT observes the storms in the Sun's atmosphere by ultraviolet light, which is blocked by the Earth's air. LASCO is a visible-light coronagraph that keeps the Sun perpetually eclipsed by masks in its telescopes. Viewing a huge volume of space, LASCO will show how features seen close to the Sun, by ground observers during the eclipse, relate to space weather further out.

Eclipse live at Le Bourget

Eclipse images from a French expedition to Sumbe in Angola will be relayed as a live transmission by satellite to the CNES-ESA pavilion at the Paris Air Show, for display on large screens. The mid-point of the eclipse will be at 14:38 Paris time. This presentation in real time will be discussed by a round table of experts.

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