What we can learn from eclipses

What we can learn from eclipses

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - This upcoming total solar eclipse could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and understanding the scientific significance of it might make it more enjoyable.

Total solar eclipses have led to many modern scientific breakthroughs, like the discovery of the corona.

The corona, you get a really good view through visible light during total eclipses only you can do it with instruments the rest of the time," said Dr. Aaron Pan, the Executive Director of the Don Harrington Discovery Center. "It's a really good opportunity to study the corona (during eclipses)."

The corona is the outermost layer of the sun. The reason why the corona can best be studied during the eclipse is because the moon blocks out a lot of the UV rays and other forms of light can damage instruments.

"The proving of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity... they were actually able to prove it by observing the way light bends around the sun," Pan said.

Einstein's theory of relativity is possibly the most important discovery for modern day physicists. It revolutionized the way scientists viewed the world around them and gave key insights on the way matter energy and gravity behave.

Helium, now proven to be the most abundant element in the universe, wasn't actually discovered in 1868. How was it discovered? A total solar eclipse.

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