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College of Arts and Sciences

Lecture: Solar Eclipses: The Dread and the Fascination

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 7:00pm

Location: W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall, Darla Moore School of Business
Speaker: Dr. Sarbani Basu, Professor and Chair, Astronomy Department, Yale University, AURA Board of Directors Member
Topic: Solar Eclipses: The Dread and the Fascination
Abstract: There is an almost five thousand year history of solar eclipses.  The occurrences of solar eclipses, with the day turning dark, have been hailed as portents of the future.  Much later, eclipses began to be used to study the outer layers of the Sun.  A solar eclipse was also used as a means to carry out one of the first tests of General Relativity.  Even today, eclipses fascinate people, and although we can create eclipses within a telescope (using a coronagraph), scientists still flock to eclipse sites.  The eclipse on August 21, 2017 will be visible over a large part of the U.S. and many people -- tourists, educators, and scientists -- are trying their best to be where the eclipse will be visible.  This makes this a good occasion to look back to other eclipses and put the upcoming one in context.  This talk will therefore explore the history of solar eclipses and make a tally of what humankind has learned from them.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Physics and Astronomy

PDF icon Physics and Astronomy Lecture, August 18, 2017