- It’s common to explain a total solar eclipse as the moon blocking out the sun. If you’ve seen the classic photograph of a ring of light around the dark moon, you know that isn’t quite right.
- That light comes from the sun’s outermost layer, called its corona. It’s one of the sun’s hottest regions, but we usually don’t see it because it isn’t very bright. A total solar eclipse, like the one that will cross the U.S. at 12:48:33 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 21, blocks just enough of the brightest light to let us see the corona.
- What you would see if you tried looking directly at the sun (here’s a tip: don’t) is the photosphere, which is two layers below the corona. Between the photosphere and the corona is a thin layer called the chromosphere, which gives off faint red light. Like the corona, we can’t see the chromosphere except during a total solar eclipse. Read more (7/20/17)